By SYDNEY BRASON “Millennial pink” is all around me. On my feet, the dusty rose-colored Fenty X Puma by Rihanna fur slides, and on my coffee table, my rose-gold circular RayBans. The web browser tabs on my MacBook contain online shopping bags featuring a pale-pink bomber jacket and a pair of blush-colored leather Common Projects sneakers, now (finally) back in stock.

Millennial pink represents various hues, which raises the question of what exactly defines the color, from what it represents in the fashion industry, to the message behind why these rosy tones are the obsession of spring 2017. Paul Hutchison, founder of Hype Type Studio, a design and creative company in Los Angeles specializing in brand identity, says that the color is “clean and modern,” which contributes to its appeal. He compared the trend to Tiffany Blue or Hermes Orange. “These were unusual colors, normally not associated with high fashion and quality,” he said in a recent interview. “Blue is often masculine; orange is bold and youthful. But these brands have been able to own the colors that now represent them.”

But beyond the fashion statement, millennial pink has grabbed the attention of editors who see it as symbolizing diversity and gender fluidity. The first major publication to draw attention to the evolution of millennial pink was The Cut in 2016 with “Why Millennial Pink Refuses to Go Away” by Lauren Schwartzberg, which credited the trend to gender realignment in fashion. More recently, The New York Times, Vogue, Esquire and Elite Daily proclaimed that the various shades of pink in both women’s and men’s fashion markets represent gender fluidity. “It’s been reported that at least 50 percent of millennials believe that gender runs on a spectrum; this pink is their genderless mascot,” says Schwartzberg.

The way a color comes to have a deeper meaning – like androgyny – rests on its visual language, according to Hutchison. “Everybody has a different reaction to color,” he says. “But in certain instances, color can carry social and political messages.” Hutchison says when developing a brand’s marketing and identity, that pairing of a color with imagery allows it to represent the unique personality of the brand.

Debbie Millman, brand consultant and host of the podcast “Design Matters,” told The Cut that millennial pink’s association with androgyny made it a “political appropriation of color.” She added, “Pink has a history of being such a polarizing color, relegated to Barbies and bubble gum, and that’s changing for political reasons as opposed to aesthetic ones.”

Millennial pink as a “genderless mascot” upsets the long-standing assumption that pink is for girls, not boys. In 2017, pink as an embodiment of the millennial generations post-gender reality relates with the movement to blur gender lines on the runways of Fashion Week. From a cultural standpoint, gender-neutral clothing is about changing established notions of what is masculine and feminine.

Androgyny in fashion dates back to when Coco Chanel gave women the gift of pants in 1913, Chanel herself saying, “I gave women a sense of freedom.” This sort of androgyny came from the desire to not want to be constrained by gender when deciding what to wear.

As seen in this spring’s designer collections, the color of the season is not just pink, but a range of pinkish shades from watermelon to rose quartz to blush. Fashion’s obsession with gender neutrality in recent years has resulted in the combination of menswear and womenswear collections on the runway, and this spring various pinks were thrown into the mix with high-necked fuchsia ensembles and ultraviolet latex stilettos. Demna Gvasalia of Balenciaga and Alessandro Michele of Gucci may disagree on aesthetics and style, but they seem to be in agreement that as influential designers and creative directors, it is their job to set the genderless stage in the industry.

Millennial pink is only the newest addition to gender-neutral fashion. Color trends in fashion are generational, and ties to different generations are what give a color more of a social and political value. Pantone, the color corporation that forecasts dominant color trends and chooses a “color of the year” each year, greatly influences fashion’s fabric hues. Their choice for 2016 was a blend of two colors, Rose Quartz (a mineral pink) and Serenity (a light blue). In explaining their decision, the company alluded to “societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity” and “the consumer’s increased comfort with using color as a form of expression.”

Pink is a gender-charged color. But to say that the color can solely be associated with femininity would be a futile statement in 2017. Androgynous clothing began its statement in the early 20th century, and so millennial pink is symbolic of the continuous effort to depolarize both color and gender in the fashion industry and beyond. “The color was fashion forward for a time, but is now becoming more common and mainstream,” says Hutchison.