If Monling Lee had a super-power, it would be colour-blocking. On her blog, COLORINDEX, and her Instagram account @monlinglee, she displays her masterful command of colour whilst wearing a kaleidoscope of clothing, against a backdrop of rainbow-bright buildings.
When she agreed to style one of our Type Something t-shirts we couldn't wait to see which palette she'd pick and how she'd style it.
So, what did you type, and why?
My keyword was SUMMER, to celebrate the appropriately fresh colour palette of Type Something that corresponds to the season-du-jour.
What inspired you to start your blog, ColorIndex?
COLORINDEX is a means to explore and catalogue the intersection of two of my interests—fashion and the built environment—through a highly colourful lens. The series began as an exercise on Instagram in 2012 when I finally upgraded to a smart phone, as an informal visual blog capturing what I wear and what I see. Colour combinations were selected from various colour reference guides in the beginning, from which I would then match pieces from my wardrobe and moments in the built environment. Overtime, however, the process of developing colour combinations became less clinical and more intuitive. Anything can prompt the beginning of a colour story, including seasons, narrative angles, a beloved piece of clothing, or a newly discovered space.
Your images are full of bright and beautiful buildings. Where is this wonderful world, and how do you find these colourful gems?
As an architect and an urban designer, I am constantly looking towards the built environment for inspiration. Washington, D.C. is a city known for historic monuments and French-inspired public spaces. While they may be monumental and didactic, they often are not the most colourful. However, the District is also full of walkable neighbourhoods consisting of charming brick row houses painted with vibrant hues that are ripe for explorations on foot. I particularly enjoy walking through side streets and alleys, where more utilitarian and unadorned facades sometimes constitute unintentional compositions that are unexpectedly interesting.
How do you go about building an outfit?
The beginning of a colour story can be inspired by anything that I find compelling for the project: a particularly interesting moment in an urban landscape, a specific colour palette that suggests the season-du-jour, or a fun piece of clothing in a vibrant hue. Layering and accessories help me pump up the number of colours that coexist in a look. As a petite person, however, I need to remain conscious of how a colour-blocked look could either enhance or reduce my natural proportions. For smaller accessories such as shoes, sunglasses, or small bags, I tend to incorporate them within another block of colour or choose analogous colours for an elongated effect.
Shop our selection of stripes - including Monling's choice - below.
Want more? Read our interview with online florists Bloom and Wild. They're a colourful bunch!