Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Designers Use Tongue-in-Cheek Appropriation of Logos

Visual branding and giant logos emblazoned across items of clothing reached their height, or nadir, in the go-go 80s and corporate 90s.  Consumers looked like walking billboards for soft drinks, sports teams, auto brands, and fashion designers.  Then came the anti-corporate grunge style, and flannel, t-shirts, cords and beat-up jeans took the place of billboard logo clothing. 

Now a new wave of cheeky young artists and designers have taken the p*ss out of  logo fashion, piling logos helter-skelter across jackets, sweatshirts and jerseys, hand-painting iconic logos on one-of-a-kind signature pieces, or even celebrating the Asian designer knockoff counterfeit market by buying and reselling pirated Asian copies of their own designs.  Welcome to the meta-meta world of cutting-edge logo fashion.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
The New York Times

Link to article:
The Return of Logo Culture

Excerpt: "There are 17 logos on Heron Preston’s signature long-sleeve T-shirt: M&Ms and Trix; Google and Remington; Home Depot, huge, on the back; Nascar, upside down, on the front.

Looked at one way, these are 17 advertisements, 17 declarations of loyalty. The function of a logo is to advertise, and these are established images, familiar and eye-catching and effective.

And yet Mr. Preston’s shirt has the air of anti-promotion to it. The logos compete with one another for attention, ultimately privileging none. They become denatured.

But can a logo ever truly be subverted? In fashion, logos are the simplest way to turn a consumer into a billboard, and we are all inexorably branded now. With each passing year, it becomes more difficult to live out of the reach of corporate influence, and each successive generation has less of an idea of what life was like back when opting out was more of a possibility.

So maybe it’s not a shock that this time is also seeing the arrival of the logo as a forward-looking fashion staple, a William Gibson and Milton Glaser fantasy come to life.

This is happening in the hands of a group of young designers who accept the ubiquity of logos and who work within that framework to turn their purpose and effect on their head. The logo becomes the canvas, whether it’s their placement on a garment, the juxtaposition of several of them together or a rendering with an unconventional treatment. In all cases, the logo becomes a graphic element that can be mined for its familiarity, but is at least in part stripped of its corporate purpose.

'I think about the logos, but not so much,' said Mr. Preston, whose T-shirt was one of this year’s signature downtown fashion items. You see a similar energy in the work of Wil Fry, who works with grayscale prints made from scanned labels from 20 or so high-end designers, or Peggy Noland, who uses puff paint to create logo mash-ups on one-of-a-kind pieces."

No comments:

Post a Comment