I’m a big fan of Gucci’s current playful approach to their branding. They have taken their logo and rather than shy away from using it…they’ve embraced it. They are using it on tshirts, on belts…sometimes in a sophisticated way….sometimes going for a gaudy feel.
Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele is a man who is not afraid of a bit of postmodernism…Gucci’s cruise collection featured a shockingly simple, logo’d T-shirt. The font was capitalised, in a rusty shade of gold, underlined by a drawing of their trademark red and green belt. It worked for several reasons, not least because of Michele’s self-referentiality which feels very in the air (Armani quickly followed suit) — Guardian
They’ve even poked fun at counterfeit items…with ‘Guccy’ jumpers.
Gucci weren’t the first brand to embrace ‘faux fakes’…Vetements held an ‘official fake’ garage sale. If you can’t beat them, join them and laugh, right?
…and their approach to in-your-face logos and playfulness does seem to be working for them.
Apparently, they haven’t had to mark down a single item yet this year. That’s not solely down to the creative direction of the brand, they have been working hard in other areas too (e.g. ecommerce), but it will have counted for a lot. In the past few years, Gucci has felt like a renewed brand…it’s felt exciting again.
Alessandro Michele’s first look for Gucci in 2015 featured a belt fastened with giant interlocking Gs (first made a status symbol under Tom Ford in the early 90’s).
Back then, it was a symbol of raw materialism. By contrast, Michele’s new take has been faded and antiqued to lend it a vintage appeal — FT
I remember as a teen, the must-have garment was a Sweater Shop jumper. It HAD to say ‘Sweater Shop’ on it. It was a symbol that you fitted in, you got it. A badge of belonging. Naf Naf, Kappa (I never went there!), Benetton. Anything with a logo on.
The logo died in the late 90’s though. It was too much, it was too….everywhere. Calvin Klein logos adorned every conceivable garment.
“[Some logos] become a cultural reference,” he adds. “The Calvin Klein logo ended up being used like crazy and was known by everyone. Everybody had their initials done like the CK logos — it was one of the logos that people used as a cultural thing.” — Business of Fashion
What followed became about ‘non-conspicuous consumption’. It was gaudy to show logos. It felt try hard and cheap.
…but the logo is now back. Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Dior debut featured bolding branded J’adior slogans (a nod to Galliano’s 90’s looks) and many other brands are having fun with heavily branded logos.
As with anything, it’s a case of personal preference and can be affected by our own memories and associations. For example, I love my Gucci Marmont belt (not just fot the gaudy interlocking G’s…but also the antique-finish metalwork…it’s a beautifully made belt). But I am not a fan AT ALL of the Gucci Supreme Belt.
It makes me shudder. Too much.
I thought about my current ‘rules’. I’d never wear the current infamous tee that says “Gucci” in massive letters…(despite my love for the Marmont belt)…but I would wear a Kenzo jumper. Why? I’m not sure…maybe previous associations still play on my mind.
Most of you knew that I’m a Vivienne Westwood aficionado. A lot of my wardrobe has the Viv W Orb. I’m pretty loyal to the brand and I usually will buy a few pieces every season. Would I buy a top that had a large Orb on though? Nope.
I think, if I’m to look very honestly at myself, I like to display a subtle logo…a sign that I am into this particular brand. It says what I want it to say about my style. I’m still not usually comfortable with more overt displays of branding.
Logos can clearly work to communicate status. On another level, logos can also become talismanic signifiers for brand purists and other social tribes. — Business of Fashion
It’s going to be interesting to see where the current hyper-branded style takes us. Maybe it’s a passing trend, maybe not. We’ll see.
“As we are living through the ‘Age of Experience’ and ‘The Age of You’ in a world of proliferating touch points, the way in which brands connect with culture is a sign of a brand’s belief, confidence and the strength of its point of view,” says Rebecca Robins, global director of Interbrand, a brand consultancy. — Business of Fashion