If you’re anything like me, you might be attracted to the look of accessories that push the limits when it comes to luxury-kitsch. Inspired by flashy and fun outfits, I’m secretly intrigued by that mystical world of opulence. But the logomania trend you see today on the likes of Beyoncé, the Hadids, and the Jenners is nothing new. In fact, part of the joy of the trend is that it has its roots deep in the past.
The beginning of the concept of the luxury logo starts with Louis Vuitton and the classic print of flowers and interlocking L and V. Originally for luggage and trunks, Louis Vuitton still has one of the most recognizable logos today, which they feature on practically any accessory you can think of. For the next century or so, logos were normally simple touches on things like shoes and bags and belts, but were not flashed with today’s frequency until the 1980s or so. A financial boom that led to unapologetically fun music, clothes, and makeup also fuelled an obsession with luxury. If you look at the postmodern design and architecture of the time, which moved away from mid-century simplicity and into purely decorative elements that were designed to embody elegance, you can see where over-the-top logos would easily fit in.
Luxury labels and streetwear remained separate until about this time, and the meeting of these realms was pioneered by the Dapper Dan boutique in Harlem. Harlem native Daniel Day opened the store in 1982 and created custom pieces with his own prints of designer logos like MCM, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, etc. He would incorporate these printed knockoff fabrics into sportswear silhouettes or luxurious pieces with fur. His creations were worn by iconic figures of the time like the members of Salt-N-Pepa, Kingpin Alberto “Alpo” Martinez, LL Cool J, Olympian Diane Dixon, and The Fat Boys. That is, until 1988, when Fendi lawyers raided and sued, forcing him to close up shop in 1992. Rappers and heavily branded clothing and accessories would not have been as synonymous if not for “Dap”.
By looking at pop culture up until the early 2000’s, you can see how logomania was able to maintain its overall popularity. It wasn’t until the worldwide recession in 2007 when popularity started to die out and frugal-chic became the dominant style mentality. For example, as I wrote this, the song “Gucci Gucci” by Kreayshawn from my middle school years wormed its way back into my mind. The chorus line being, “Gucci Gucci, Louis Louis, Fendi Fendi, Prada, basic bitches wear that shit so I don’t even bother.” A damning look at the attitudes towards those brands at the time.
Now, with the world having recovered, logomania is back in full swing. Logomania may be one of those trends that we will use to define this moment in fashion in the future. At the house of Gucci, Alessandro Michele’s influence and dedication to heavy branding since 2015 has elevated their “cool” status in the luxury world as of late. In fact, Gucci paired up with Dapper Dan this year and supplied Day with real Gucci fabrics and the freedom to create his own pieces back in Harlem. On the other side of branding, streetwear has also embraced “working class logos” thanks to brands like Vetements. Turning a DHL logo for example into a highly coveted and valued status symbol seems like a fun quip of satire on the logomania trend.
Sure, you may think it’s a challenging trend to pull off, but check out some of your fave celebs rocking the look for inspiration! Who knows, maybe a branded accessory here and there might make its way into your hip wardrobe.