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SI LOGO « DressLab : clothes+music+art
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Author: Estel Vilaseca

Section: NOTES

Date: 02.2013



While I was preparing this article, and I’ve being mulling over it for weeks now, news came in of the capsule collection of Opening Ceremony with Donna Karan New York reviving the logo trend of the 90’s. So we’ll begin with the initials DKNY in extra-large and we can confirm that, indeed, Naomi Klein, author of the best-seller No Logo, was right when she said “the metaphorical alligator has swallowed the literal shirt”. We can, however, add some nuances. Those who wear the logo nowadays do it conscientiously, even with a touch of irony, demonstrating some degree of adherence to a brand name and, consequently, to the fashion system itself.



Fashion cycles still work with clockwork precision. A number of facts confirm that private labels and no-logo signalled the end of an era, and the Martin Margiela collection for H&M may be just that end. Many admirers of the Belgian brand name, founded by a designer who preferred to remain anonymous and who created the “anti-logo”, declared that this collaboration represented the last, definitive straw. “Two opposites have met. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who sees the paradox. By all means, if you are willing to buy into this collaboration, please do, just don’t think that you are buying ‘fashion’ or a part of Margiela’s legacy — what you are buying are assembly-line knockoffs that you will discard by next year. But if this has become your idea of fashion, I urge you to reconsider.” That’s how bluntly the editor of StyleZeitgeist described it a couple of months ago in BoF



So, where is the return to interest in logos going to kick off? I’m going to put my money on Emeli Martensson, of the shirt makers 5Preview, as a starting point. In 2008 this designer serigraphed shirts borrowing the iconographic Chanel logo but adding a certain touch of urban guerrilla, backing up this apparent transgression with hooded models posing with the shirts. An event that in another era would be no more than an anecdote became a best seller thanks to the catalyst that is the internet. Everybody wanted to wear the two C’s. Thanks to the repercussions of her first serigraphed shirts, Martensson now designs a complete prêt-à-porter line and is still experimenting with tongue-in-cheek references to the potency of brand names.



From there we move on to Rodarte, and his shirts. This line came into being a year after this phenomenon and in conjunction with its agitators, the couple who founded Opening Ceremony, and the same ones who have turned Kenzo Tiger into a phenomenon of adoration and sales. They are the maximum exponents of how to turn a printed T-shirt into a ‘cool’ item. Rodarte shirts, which offer revamped versions of the same logo in a variety of patterns, sell for 100 dollars and are quickly sold out. Radarte, Rodarte Promo, J’aime Rodarte and, finally, Roharte, capture the imagination of these arty sisters in their lettering.



Céline responded to the Rodarte master stroke but on a bigger scale, and with three times as much at stake: a starting price of 405 dollars. A money-making machine, without a doubt. They detected a thirst for logos and, with the aid of Vogue Paris, injected a generous dose of French glamour into the pristine white Céline shirt. While only a few could afford originals, other opted for altered versions. Brian Lichtemberg, with Féline, and Michela Agwunobi, with CELINE UP THE BITCHES ripped off the design, offering a cheaper, cooler version. The French street artist Kidult accompanied one of his performances in a shop belonging to the brand name by offering free distribution from his website of 50 brand name t-shirts with his tag printed on top of the logo. Primark, with their fast fashion, really looped the loop by replicating Féline, by Lichtemberg, at a ridiculous price. At the end of the day, it seems who laughs last, laughs best.


Tetx_ Estel Vilaseca




  1. DKNY para Opening Ceremony | itfashion.com / 19.02.13

    […] The logos are back and big corporations wins. About that and the overwhelming power of the brands I talk this month in Dresslab.com. If you want to read more about it just click “Si Logo“. […]

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