The Death and Rebirth of Logos
Middle school. A prepubescent blur of hormonal changes and bad style choices; among them, Uggs, the raccoon eyeliner look, and of course, Juicy Couture tracksuits. If your middle school was anything like mine, Juicy Couture was the gold standard; the crème de la crème in a misty haze of Bath & Body Works fragrances and AXE. Walking down the halls Monday morning with an iconic “j” zipper hanging from your hoodie and a cheesy slogan printed over velour or terry cloth was like wearing bullet proof armor. Sadly, since those days, the brand has fallen on hard times, as they’ve seen their popularity decline and as a result, closed several of their stores.
But what in the name of couture went wrong? Well, somewhere in the late 2000’s it just wasn’t cool to rep logos anymore, and to the dismay of preteen faves like Hollister and Abercrombie, who made their killing on graphic logo printed everything, people started wanting *gasp*
actually well-designed clothes. However, Urban Outfitters recently shook the fashion community when they announced its newest collaboration, Juicy Couture for UO, which includes logo t-shirts, backpacks and, yep, you guessed it, velour tracksuits. Except it shouldn’t have been a shock at all. With the direction that high fashion has been going in and the upsurge in “throwback fashion’s” popularity, Juicy Couture was primed to make its grand comeback now more than ever.
In recent years, logos and branded clothing have emerged to reclaim their place in high fashion. Partly due to streetwear’s rise in popularity, brands known for their logo plastered garments like Supreme, Hood by Air, Vetements, and Off-White are accepted in high fashion and boost hefty price tags to boot. Virgil Abloh, creative designer and founder of his label, Off-White, has amassed a cult following for his clothing, which often features the brand’s logo, the word “white” in large serif block letters with diagonal striped lines encased in a rectangle below it. Recently, Mr. Abloh has even collaborated with Kanye West, and it was rumored that he would succeed Ricardo Tisci as Givenchy’s creative director (though it has recently been confirmed that he will not).
Vetements, the brand currently known for disrupting the fashion world, is perhaps the most notorious label recognized for their unconventionally branded clothing and extravagant prices. In a recent collaboration with the classic American brand, Champion, Vetements released logo tracksuits that retailed for over $1000. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. During Paris Fashion Week last year, the brand, which is designed by Balenciaga’s creative director, Demna Gvasalia, even sent velour tracksuits with “Juicy” bedazzled on the back, which subsequently sold for around $2200. Needless to say, there’s a high price to pay for high fashion.
In a world where people are currently lusting over $600 vintage–inspired Gucci logo t-shirts and hoodies that look like they cost 75 cents at a Goodwill, it seems that anything’s possible. It begs the question of whether fashion is getting lazy or if the industry is simply giving the people what they want. Whatever the case, it seems like it won’t be too long before you’re digging deep in your closets in search for pastel and primary-hued velour.