Brand Obsession and Logomania
Thoughts | Lesley Cheung
A peek into the closets of any teen quickly reveals a bounty of clothes that probably look quite similar to some of the stuff in your own closet. Namely branded tees, logo sweats, printed hoodies, and labelled bags. Of course, personal styles aren’t all carbon copies of one another, so there may be a few gems in there that are unique. The point is that much of modern society, especially the youth, have succumbed to sacrificing individuality and personal style—instead opting for items solely because they belong to a specific brand.
Yes, people may buy from a certain brand because they appreciate their history, associate themselves with the brand’s aesthetic, or support their creative processes. But what I’m talking about is when purchases and decisions of what to wear are based only on the thoughts that “everyone else says the brand is hype” or because “I can flex on everyone if I pull up to class wearing this”. Don’t get it twisted.
What do Supreme, Gucci, Off-White, Champion, Stone Island, and their relatives have in common? They slap their logo on a basic product and all of a sudden their value increases hundredfold compared to their no-name counterparts. Definitely, there are some special and outlandish pieces that you won’t be able to find at your local H&M or Zara, but I’m talking about the basics–the plain ol’ hoodies and tees. A logoed Gucci hoodie will cost you a steep $1500 and an Off-White shirt with its signature diagonal stripes demands $400. And let’s not forget when Champion garments used to collect dust on Walmart shelves, but now are price-inflated at trendy stores like Urban Outfitters and Foot Locker.
It’s all thanks to the climate of brand-obsessed individuals (and dare I say limited supply and surplus of demand), that we’ll pay more than we should. After being fully aware and acknowledging this state of mind, even I’m not exempt from the brand trap. I think what this brand craze all comes down to is aspiring to be someone we’re not but want to become, and the association we’ll get with a type of demographic and lifestyle that we want to be a part of.
Not only are today’s youth competing for high marks and head positions in clubs, but they’re competing for street cred and the “it” factor. Branded clothes, accessories, and all other kinds of paraphernalia are at the core of this dream. A 360 look around campus and you’ll be able to spot the logos, the texts, and the signature motifs that have all become familiar.
While we’re giddy with our latest cops on Farfetch and SSENSE, brands and designers are aptly catching on to what their customers want. New season collections have brought plastered logos, large texts, and loud designs all over garments and accessories. Take a look at Louis Vuitton’s collaboration with Supreme that released in the summer of 2017 and Fendi’s Fall/Winter 2018 collaboration with Fila. It doesn’t take a genius to notice what’s going on here.
There are also setbacks to the mania. The resell and counterfeit markets prey on those eager to get their hands on branded products. Online sites like Grailed and StockX are prime venues for resellers. You can find Supreme box logo hoodies selling for three times the retail price and Yeezy Boost 350s for five times the retail price. Meanwhile, product authentication has become necessary as there is now a plenitude of fakes due to the lucrativeness of the industry.
But after all this has been said, I don’t expect change. We’re still going to be falling head over heels for the brands we want. Just make sure everyone knows your heels are Balenciaga.