The last decade of the last century was a time in fashion when clothes with logos were worn in order to make a statement about yourself, your tastes in music, food and financial status. This century sees logomania as nostalgia or irony in the spirit of postmodernism.
When logomania is about having fun
In October 2015 a man walked down the runway in Paris. He wore Dr. Martens boots, black leather pants, a black unbuttoned shirt. He was also wearing a DHL T-shirt. That was the moment when the world has abruptly ceased to be the same. Although this, of course, was not the first manifestation of an ironic statement on a T-shirt, for some reason, Vetements and the attitude of Demna Gvasalia to brand logos as a manifestation of mass culture became a turning point. T-shirt appeared in stores with a price tag of £185 and, despite the cost, sold out instantly. In March 2016, Ken Allen, chairman of DHL, was noticed wearing it as well.
A few seasons later that collection no longer seems as crazy, as critics interpreted it at that time. Rather it is a natural and smooth development of any process, sort of postmodernism 2.0, Duchamp’s urinal in a new style. Like any postmodern object, it is characterised by the victory of intuition over logic, arrogance, metaphor, historical allusion, paradox and, in the end, surrealism. Moschino, for example, for many seasons have been focusing their collections on logo- and brando-mania, and that is clearly a trend of the decade.
When logomania is about nostalgia
In recent years, fashion, like an old woman at sunset, behaves very sentimentally. Fashion is cyclical, you would say, and always turns for inspiration to the past. Nicolas Ghesquière, for example, published a book and put together an exhibition on how he was reworking the past of the Balenciaga fashion house when he became the new creative director. Reflection on the old days and its graphics is yet another trend amongst fashion designers.
Designers at Calvin Klein also dug into their own archives for some graphic inspiration in a bout of nostalgia. Five years ago, together with an online retailer MyTheresa.com, Calvin Klein created a capsule collection that focused on all the things that became common in the 90s. This became a cult of monogram sweaters and underwear from the time when there was no Internet, when we didn’t know how Beverly Hills 90210 would end, when Leonardo DiCaprio was just one of the teenage actors. It was also a time when clothing items with logos were cheaper because they help businesses promote themselves.
Today many millennials around the world, who are tired of logos and want to keep their financial status and fashion choices low-key they turn to anti-logomania. Recently launched ITALIC website, for example, sells Gucci, Miu Miu and Celine items without a logo and at reduced prices. This seems to also become a part of the game.
Text: Irina Gorskaia
Images: Vogue UK, WWD