Before you start reading this, please take a minute out to watch this video.
While I can only imagine what Mr Domenico ‘Dolchey’ would have to say about that copyright infringement, there was a time when fashion logos were synonymous with low-grade punjabi songs and rap music. Be it earrings spelling out D-I-O-R or belts with an L and a V, logos were uncool. Sporting one was like saying you cared too much. And nobody likes a try-hard.
But we’re now in the midst of logomania. Last year, the Gucci t-shirt was selling out almost as fast as Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy conspiracy theories. You can see the Gucci T-shirt everywhere from street style to red carpet events. Every cool cat of fashion already owns one and everyone wants to own one. Guilty as charged.
Have designers always felt the need to punch brand iconography all over their clothes?
It is true that branding plays a major rule in the success of a fashion business. That’s why you pay $300 for a plain white tee at Balenciaga but a tenth of that at H&M.
Logomania saw its peak in the 80s and the 90s when people suddenly wanted to be sportier and wear basic clothes. They didn’t want the shiny dress and the silk scarf but tank top and jeans. This led to an unease among the fashion brands. How could they ensure business when the staple wardrobe item was a white tank top that you get at any departmental store? Fearing a loss in business, fashion moved its label from the inside to the out. And so came in the Calvin Kleins, the Ralph Laurens and the Abercombies. Logos became a ground for social strata. People were willing to pay ten times more to sport the little polo player on their left breast.
All was well for a decade until the market crashed and the 21st century hit us with a bang. It was suddenly considered tacky to flash designer names and subtlety became key. Designers moved on to gaining business through their designer sneakers, leather jackets and H&M collaborations. People finally realized that paying hundreds of dollars for basic ass clothes is ridiculous and Michele brought back maximalism. Designers actually started designing and embroidery and drapes came back with an athletic twist.
But then Demna Gvasalia of Vetements sent designer Gosha Rubchinskiy down the runway in a canary yellow T-shirt stamped with a DHL logo two years ago. He took something very peasantry and made it cool and cult. This ignited a sort of a fire and started paving the way for the 90s minimalism feel. Fashion logos started springing up on runways and stores. For Autumn/Winter 2017, logo T-shirts from Balenciaga, Vetements, Gucci, Ganni and Dolce & Gabbana made up five of Net-a-Porter’s top 10 best-selling items of the season.
But what’s interesting about this resurface is that some of these logos came back but in new and exciting ways. They were redesigned, distorted and even mocked. A hilarious example is Gucci’s new Guccy logo for Cruise 2018 in response to the counterfeit culture surrounding logomania. There’s debate over how long logomania is here to stay, but with the hype surrounding it, it’s not too late to give in.
You can scroll below to see and shop some of my favourites from logomania fashion