A Rumination on Streetwear and High-Fashion's Logomania
A Rumination on Streetwear and High-Fashion's Logomania
- Words Javin Busby
- Date April 19, 2017
In December of last year, Supreme was set to release a highly-anticipated hoodie bearing the brand's ubiquitous box logo in-store as well as on their online shop. In less than 60 seconds from their 11:00am EST webstore update, one page refresh found that, while the clock had not yet struck 11:01, the entire stock of the F/W staple had completely sold out.
Though this is not at all uncommon for a Supreme release, what one may find surprising is the 600-800% markup this particular product fetched on second-hand markets like Grailed. In opposition to the popular opinion amongst 'Preme purists, who often proclaim that the best of the brand's offerings are those foregoing the obvious branding, it’s obvious that those with its incorporation remain the most coveted and highly sought after.
A simple slap of the Barbara Kruger-inspired, white Futura typeface on a motorcycle helmet brought an otherwise $300 product to that of a whopping $2200+ on eBay and WTB/WTS Reddit thread postings. The same can be said for the Everlast punching bag that received the same treatment, fetching a hefty $2500 sum for the few with one to sell. And Supreme isn't the only label whose name alone can instantly skyrocket the demand for another product that might be otherwise overlooked.
Take Gosha Rubchinskiy and his Cyrillic logo's application which has brought lesser celebrated athletic brands—Reebok, Fila, Kappa and Sergio Tacchini—to the fashionable forefront, landing on shelves within the confines of established luxury hubs like Barneys New York and Dover Street Market for what very well may be the first time. It makes one wonder, how much power does a logo hold when it comes to hype and desirability?
As examined by Dazed Digital, Nicky Diamonds and his Californian streetwear imprint, Diamond Supply Co., amassed a small fortune turning out streetwear staples emblazoned with the brand’s diamond iconography. Polarizing L.A.-based streetwear label Fuckthepopulation, often stylized as FTP, has managed to garner a cult following all their own with edgy and often confrontational graphics, while garments barring their FTP logo sell out almost instantly before reappearing with a 300% markup themselves.
Neek Lurk's Anti Social Social Club is another brand that does well to offer a range of T-shirts and hoodies dependent almost solely on the application of its warped type logo. ASSC is an almost mandatory case study in branding as they have amassed a hefty following of over 800k followers on Instagram who remain eager to buy into the brand, and, maybe even more so, the brand’s logo. And although it is hard to dismiss the distorted typefaces’ minimalist aesthetic appeal, it is arguably the sole reason customers continue to come back for more.
A Bathing Ape may not always print its name across its sweatshirts or down jackets, but who needs to when the brand’s iconic camouflage all-over print has the same, if not an even greater, impact than that of its Ape Head logo?
Of course, streetwear brands such as these are not the only ones who have thrived off of logo usage and placement. Luxury brands have sold countless goods bearing their globally recognized monograms for more than a century. Even counterfeiters have done well to cash in on the opportunity, selling product of a diluted quality with the forged logos of your Louis Vuittons, Guccis and Yves Saint Laurents of the world.
Luxury brands contrast, however, in that they tend to use their logos and eponymous branding at their own merit as opposed to out of necessity, with exclusion to the realm of accessories. Though these sales make up a good portion of their business, most mainline offerings from luxury mainstays bear little obvious analogy to the brand from which they came aside from the label stitched into the garment's collar or waistband. On the contrary, it is often the particular design language with which the designer or creative director at the helm chooses to employ that tends to signify and differentiate one brand from the next, linking lesser-branded pieces back to the house from which they originated.
Relative newcomer, Vetements has made a name for themselves with a very specific design language, product placement, brand association and interesting re-appropriation of well-recognized logos of corporate entities that lack ties to fashion entirely. Take, for example, their DHL logo T-shirt, which seemed to have a stranglehold on the headlines of popular fashion publications despite its whopping $300 price tag for what could very well be considered a knockoff staff uniform. Vetements have even managed to essentially retro Juicy couture's Swarovski crystal-laden velour sweatsuit, "Juicy" name still intact across the rear, for 4x the price. The Parisian label has also maintained the ability to cash in on the printing of its own brand name whenever and wherever they see fit, simply another act in maintaining their "we do what we want when we want" ethos championed by the creative collective since its inception.
The world's two largest athletic apparel brands rake in billions year-over-year by not necessarily plastering their name everywhere, but by retaining the ability to do so via their immediately identifiable three stripes and Swoosh logos. Though the Nike name is an enormous one, it still seems to play second fiddle to its Carolyn Davidson-designed logo, and with Adidas making one of the strongest brand comebacks of recent memory, the three stripes motif may be as strong as it's ever been.
As new players fight their way into the streetwear market, seeking both relevance and monetary gain, it should be no surprise to find those placing a heavy emphasis on their logo and its placement of such. And as luxury shoppers take to the Louis Vuitton store in the heat of the summer this July, it is hard to ignore that there may have never been such pandemonium over $2000 leather goods by a bunch of kids in athletic sneakers and tees. As it stands today, it appears that the right logo from the right brand can sell almost anything to anyone looking to buy into whatever it may or may not represent.
Though this season may not be all about the bogo for you, for another, the anticipation of having their feelings crushed in the online queue is at an all-time high, and the resale market will be flooded once again with a wave of products supplying those more than happy to flesh out the additional 400% to sport it.
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