Take a look at what the hottest fashion bloggers feeds and you'll know for the sure: the logo is back. No need for tagging or asking anyone what they're wearing anymore. From Balenciaga, to Gucci to Loewe every cool girl is happy to flaunt her label proudly across her chest, round her waist, swinging it from their wrist or even holding it up to her ear, as she does her whole: 'Pretend to be on the phone while looking for a driver' pose. And since brands have become insta-bait, the return of the logo was just inescapable. Logomania on such a huge scale hasn't happened since before the mid 90s, and almost brandless labels like Jil Sander, Celine and Maison Margiela took over. But right now, from Versace printed on purple sweatshirts to Saint Laurent's YSL shaped heels and Christian Dior's name printed on exposed straps and underwear, brands are literally spelling their names out whereever and whenever they can.
When Alessandro Michele included a soft-washed t-shirt with the Gucci logo printed across it, in his 2017 cruise collection, vintage versions that looked pretty similar on Ebay were immediately snapped up. However, when the real deal finally landed on retail sites with a price tag of £400, it didn't take long for them to become a cult buy too. Net-a-Porter orginally ordered 1,000 and they sold out globally in just 10 weeks. Lisa Aiken, Fashion Director of the site says: 'That Gucci logo t-shirt was a significant investment for pre-spring summer and due to the phenomenal performance, two new colourways are being introduced for next season. It’s now a numbers game, with five of our top ten spends being logo t-shirts and sweatshirts from the likes of Gucci, Off-White and Vetements.'
However, unlike previous years where branded clothing was used to show just how much you had in your bank account, the current re-ignition is much more complex. With everyone thanks to social media platforms, becoming 'Content Creators,' deciding just how they want their followers to perceive them by deciding what images to post and not to post on their profiles, choosing to align themselves with a particular brand says a lot about now only how they see themselves but also who their tribe is or who they aspire it to be. Robbie Sinclair, Womenswear Editor at WGSN, a trends forecasting agency says: 'Consumers are alining themselves with specific brands like Supreme, Palace and Off-White; it's almost acting as brand ambassadors. Classic 90’s sports brands such Reebok classics, Fila, Kappa etc have also had a huge revival and these allow consumers with less disposable income say for Vêtements, Palace and brands alike to still buy into the concept over head-to-toe branding without feeling excluded.'
If there's anyone to blame for this sudden: 'Are you part of the gang?' concept, then it's Demna Gvasalia, the creative director of both Balenciaga and Vêtements who has quickly made both brands cultish. With a tongue-in-cheek attitude and both playful adoption and adaption of pop cultural symbols, wearing either a genuine piece from his collections or a brand he has collaborated it, speaks volume about the wearer. For spring summer 2017, he collaborated with eighteen other brands including Levi’s, Comme des Garçons, Reebok, Canada Goose, Dr. Martens, Eastpak and Manolo Blahnik. Plus for autumn winter 2017, he emblazoned a sweatshirt at Balenciaga with the logo of the luxury group, Kering, which owns the brand. Meanwhile, Virgil Ablosh at Off-White showed light blue shirts with Royal Mail appliqués while when Louis Vuitton teamed up with streetwear brand Supreme, the collection featuring bags, shirts, a skate deck and even phone case sold out within hours.
It's entry level items like phones that are proving to be extremely commercially savvy for luxury brands. 'It used to be perfumes but of late it has become the skateboard sticker or phone case,' explains Sinclair. It is the easiest way for young label hungry consumers to buy into a label. As younger designers take over historic fashion houses like Loewe and Balenciaga we are seeing a more street style aesthetic hitting the runway. Also larger fashion houses such as Louis Vuitton are seeing that customer loyalty for brands like Supreme and collaborating with them to take advantage of the huge profits to be made. It taps into the cool, streetwear customer but also introduces that customer to a more high-end, aspiration label.'
However, it's not just the high-end labels that are having fun with logos. Ikea's big blue sacks are being flaunted on Insta taking the sartorial p**s out of Balenciaga's £1,660 shopper, while Christopher Shannon for autumn winter 2017 reinterpreted the classic Calvin Klein branding into 'Constant Stress' and Timberland into 'Tumbleweed.' Meanwhile, the artist Reilly, morphs well know logos into others, think Fendi into Fila and Stella McCartney into Stella Artois, then posts the results to his 50K followers on Instagram. But even the designers themselves are fans with regrams from Silvia Venturini Fendi plus Alessandro Michele approaching the London based artist to work with him on the #GucciGram campaign and for his latest Cruise 2018 collection showed a dress with a pearl embroidered 'Guccy.' At this stage it's hard to know who's mocking who and if that's even the game. 'When Alesandro Michele teamed up with the graffiti artist Trouble Andrew to create an authentic Gucci 'Knock off’ maybe it spurred something in others to poke fun too,' says Sinclair. Since then, we have seen a surge in brand satire items with many artists and new designers including Reilly and others like Just Do It Babes almost becoming more desirable the the real version. Designer brands are aways going to be bootlegged so maybe they are playing the counterfitters at their own game and getting to the finish line first.'
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