Fashion is no longer inconspicuous. After a plethora of seasons of minimal branding, the logo is making a return to collections everywhere. From designer catwalks like Chanel, Kenzo and Moschino, to the high street and beyond, logos are definitely back in fashion.
But this is only a recent trend. For a while, branded logo's were uncool and uncouth. The economic crisis focused on a fashion that was more introspective and it was distasteful to wear one's status on one's sleeves. Luxury was about fabric, cut and craftsmanship, perhaps a recognisable print. It was not about shouting loud labels.
These days, visit any luxury department store in London and there will be ample product with logo-bearing prints. From sweatshirts to accessories to ready-to-wear, logos are being incorporated both as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the logomania of the 80s and streetwear culture of the 90s, but also as new wave of credible branding.
Take for example the Kenzo sweatshirt, the Givenchy floral collection, Louis Vuitton accessories or the new DKNY sportswear. All of them feature bold branding on their current in-store collections, despite being luxury business.
“We’re seeing our core customer in her thirties or forties mixing and matching logos with high-end looks and understated separates,” Ben Matthews, buying manager at Net-a-Porter told the Financial Times. “Logo-emblazoned pieces are also a fun way for a younger customer to buy into a brand. And, for those of us that remember logo mania the first time, these pieces bring about a sense of nostalgia. It’s linked to the move towards sportswear and streetwear we have seen on runways in recent seasons.” Logos, of course, are fashion's simplest way to turn a consumer into an advertisement. There is no cheaper way to get a message across then by doing it directly onto a wearable garment.
Logos are also a reaction to fashion's anonymity for many seasons. At high street level brands such as Uniqlo and American Apparel offer a clean product, as do designer brands like Céline and Jil Sander. Logo culture is not just about teenagers in branded T-shirts, it's a culture that has made a comeback to the high fashion aesthetic.
But not all branded messages go down well. When Colette stocked the logo T-shirt 'Ain't YSL without Yves,' Saint Laurent responded instantly by terminating its relationship with the directional boutique. That was one branded T-shirt that went too far.
Fashion is full of parodies, take the AW14 Moschino collection with all the McDonald's and Chanel references. This is logo-tastic at its most anti-fashion.
Images: Moschino, Chanel