Logomania: The Obsession With Branded Fashion Is Back
January 8, 2018
Be honest: Have you ever purchased something just because of its brand? Like, maybe the Longchamp bag you carried every day in high school (honestly, those things are just overpriced nylon totes), the Juicy Couture sweatsuit you basically lived in, or the $65 Coach key chain you begged your parents for after you got your license. Brand loyalty bordering on obsession is a calling card of adolescence, but let’s be real—for those of us who love fashion, it never really ends, it just probably shifts focus from mall brands to the runway, much to the chagrin of our bank accounts.
While certain brands—think the Chanels and Tommy Hilfigers of the world—have always trafficked in unapologetic branding, for a few years there, it was uncool to be seen walking around like a human billboard. Chalk it up to the financial crisis, or just a sudden, widespread interest in cultivating an effortlessly minimalist aesthetic, but eight years ago, rocking Gucci socks may not have seemed quite as appealing as it does today. And it sure does feel appealing, doesn’t it?
Every major house from Celine and Dior to Gucci and Valentino is selling some version of a branded tee, while the truly hip brands like Balenciaga are sticking their name on pencils, bicycles, and other decidedly overpriced ephemera. A few months ago, someone even made a Louis Vuitton toilet. If that doesn’t convince you that logos are trending, I am not sure what will.
In a way, this unabashed flexing of designer brands feels refreshingly honest. As much as I love clean, cool staples like a Mansur Gavriel bucket bag, if I’m going to drop $700 on a purse, don’t I kind of want people to know it? As icky as that may feel to admit, part of the reason many women enjoy buying luxury items is because it’s a way of showcasing their success–even if only in hunting down a great deal–and there’s nothing wrong with that.
“A lot of people would argue that logos never went away,” says stylist and fashion editor Danielle Prescod. “It’s true, they have always been part of the DNA of luxury fashion. It is simply how we identify things. There was a point in time, though, where logos became gauche and that kind of display of wealth fell out of favor post-2008. Slowly but surely, probably thanks most to social media, people became much more comfortable wearing their money again.”
Unfortunately, inherent in the appeal of logos are the big bucks they cost, and not all of us have cash to spare. While knockoffs will never be in style, sites like Tradesy, The RealReal, and Fashionphile make it possible to buy gently used, highly discounted items from big-name brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and (mostly pre-Alessandro Michele) Gucci. It’s still not necessarily cheap, but buying secondhand usually makes the LV or double C dream a little closer to reality. As for styling your logo-laden pieces, there are two schools of thought: the keep it simple, and the more-is-more.
“As with anything, the best way to do the look is in moderation,” argues Prescod. “You don’t want a head toe Vuitton x Supreme fit or you’ll look like a fashion victim. One thing at a time, and you’ll make enough of a statement to get the attention you want.”
That being said, there’s nothing wrong with piling it all on, either, as long as you mix it up with several different designers. So do the Supreme tee with the Chanel bag and the Gucci belt. Why not? Logomania is about indulgence, living large, and apologizing for it to no one.
Below, modern takes on branded fashion.