Article by Samantha Caffrey | esPResso Committee Member
For the past couple weeks, an image of a now infamous dress has been sweeping the world, causing lengthy, confusing and sometimes heated debates about whether the dress is white and gold or blue and black.
The owner of the dress and the originator of the photo both live on the Scottish island of Colonsay. According to Business Insider, the dress was initially bought for a wedding by the mother of the bride. However, when she sent a photo of the dress to her daughter and friends, they soon discovered that something was not right. It appeared that the dress was white and gold to one person, but blue and black to another. The photo was then posted to Facebook, where it sparked more disagreement. Shortly after, it was shared on Tumblr and went viral. Within hours the photo spread like wildfire across the Internet.
Nicole Tackley, a sophomore at Marist College, stated, “I kept seeing the photo everywhere! It wouldn’t go away and it kept changing color, which made me question my sanity.”
People across the world debated the color of the dress, truly confused as to why some saw white and gold and others saw blue and black. As the week went on, speculation about the specifics of the photo and possible explanations were offered involving the specific breakdown of the colors in the photo and the various functions of our eyes. Companies and brands even took advantage of the situation and started their own white and gold or blue and black color wars.
This past week, the Southern African branch of The Salvation Army used the viral dress to make a powerful statement on domestic abuse. The ad campaign tagline, “‘Why is it so hard to see black and blue?'” accompanies a photo of a woman wearing a white and gold dress, covered in bruises. The campaign highlights the work that The Salvation Army does for women and children in abusive situations. An article written by Abby Phillip for The Washington Post stated that, “Brands don’t always make the best decisions about how to make use of viral content. But this time, it appears the Salvation Army struck the right tone.”