Logomania fashion has had a significant impact on contemporary fashion and culture. The design technique emphasizes the deep significance consumers place upon brands and brand logos. Highlighting the means people will work to associate themselves with certain tribes, social statuses, and in-groups. Discover the history of logomania in fashion and the brands that propelled the movement and keep it alive today.
What is Logomania?
In fashion, logomania is a design technique where a brand’s logo is utilized in a prominent repeated pattern across a garment or accessory. These pieces have fluctuated in popularity over the decades, since their origin in the music scene in the 80s. These not-so-subtle statements have made associating oneself with a particular brand an art form.
How did Logomania Start?
The history of logomania can be traced back to one man, Dapper Dan, an artist in the 80s and 90s who was heavily involved in the New York music industry. Labeled the “father” of logomania, he pioneered taking high-end and luxury styles and adapting them for the rap and hip-hop scene. He designed his own streetwear inspired by the likes of Gucci and Louis Vuitton and borrowed their logos for his own designs. The finished pieces represented much of the logo-heavy rap culture at the time, and the aesthetic grew to be prolific over the decades.
The designs represented rich brand history, emotional attachment to these brands, and of course wealth and status. The music industry propelled this style to what it is today. Artists from all walks sport heavily logoed pieces and flex with heavy jewelry just as they did in the early 90s.
How has logomania evolved?
Originally, logomania had its roots in reappropriating a brand’s logo and redesigning streetwear pieces with that logo to create something entirely new. At the start, logo heavy pieces were sought after for many of the same reasons people gravitate towards logo heavy luxury fashion today. It is because of its relation to money and wealth. Over time consumers realized that heavily logoed fashion was only popular amongst new money, and people of lower economic status aspiring to appear wealthy.
Today logomania is appreciated, but it is not aspirational like it once was. In some cases, logomania is hated as it represents some of the uglier sides of consumerism. Much of the current logo heavy products are more subtle. Logomania is heavily tied to the economy, during times of prosperity and abundance, consumers are more willing to show more logos. Whereas during times of economic crisis, logos tend to be less visible.
Despite the negative associations’ many consumers have with logo heavy pieces. Fashion collectors consider these garments to be a part of fashion history, and will invest in these pieces. Vintage pieces and collaboration lines can be sold for many times their original retail value. There is a major secondhand industry that profits off of reselling luxury items, much of it flooded with logo heavy products.
What brands popularized Logomania?
Louis Vuitton has one of the most recognizable logos on the planet. They have several branded patterns and logos that have represented LV over the years. For even the average consumer the brand’s imagery is identifiable. Louis Vuitton famously produces more affordable versions of their bags in a wax canvas fabric, in models like the “NeverFull” and “Speedy Bag”. These bags were highly sought after in the 90s and early aughts and shot the brand to notoriety. These bags translated to status, with specific models alone being recognizable on the street, and compounded further by the logo heavy print.
Similar to Louis Vuitton, when the business was struggling in the 80s and 90s before it was sold to Kering, Gucci heavily relied on affordable, logo heavy canvas bags. When the brand was sold in 1999 and the business refocused on leather and fashion, the brand’s logo heavy history remained. The double-G logo has many iterations, from the small tan-on-brown pattern to the flashier green, gold, and red pattern. Gucci today has embraced its heavy logo history and produces full suits in their double-G pattern.
Christian Dior is another world famous french luxury house that produces logo heavy works. In recent years, Dior hit headlines for retailing a Vespa, helmet, and case set entirely covered in their iconic repeated logo print. They have also released other unconventional products, not traditionally associated with the brand like their baby prams.
Collaborations between Fashion Studios
There have been countless collaborations between fashion studios over recent years, it is now an essential component of the business today. It fosters brand loyalty, creates newness, and keeps brands relevant. In 2022, the Adidas x Gucci is an example of two logo heavy brands collaborating on a collection that featured a revamp of the famous Adidas Gazelle sneaker.
Gucci in 2022 alone partnered up with the skatewear brand Palace, and the outdoor clothing brand North Face. Collaborations and one-time partnerships are popping up nearly every week all heavily reliant on logo dominant collections.
One of the pioneers in the collaboration game has been Supreme, they iconically paired up with Louis Vuitton in 2017, dropping a collection of logo clad accessories, bags, and more. This collection was so popular, even today, years later knockoffs and fakes are still produced and sold worldwide.
Logomania in Streetwear
In the early 2000s, the logomania trend in streetwear found a formidable champion in brands such as Supreme and A Bathing Ape (BAPE). Back then, these brands were all about maximalism, employing their logos as bold and identifiable elements of their designs. Supreme’s stark red and white logo, and BAPE’s distinctive ape head logo, were often placed centrally on their merchandise, creating a visual marker that was synonymous with streetwear culture. As an icon of Japanese streetwear, BAPE even took this a step further with its distinctive camouflage patterns that incorporated its logo subtly, yet unmistakably.
However, as the fashion landscape has evolved, so too have these brands. While they continue to value the importance of brand identity, their approach to logomania has matured over the years. In recent collections, Supreme and BAPE have started to take a more understated approach to their designs, moving away from the in-your-face logo placement of their early years. Instead, logos are more subtly integrated into their designs, often blending seamlessly with the rest of the garment or used as tasteful embellishments. The brands are now focusing on quality, material innovation, and distinct design, rather than relying on overt brand symbolism.
Despite this shift, Supreme and BAPE have managed to retain their cultural relevance and appeal to their loyal followers. They continue to churn out highly sought-after collaborations that generate significant hype, while still adhering to the modern, more nuanced interpretation of logomania. The evolution of these brands reflects the maturation of the streetwear industry as a whole, which is now more attuned to the changing preferences of its discerning consumers.
What types of clothing / accessories are popular with Logomania?
The most popular pieces adorned with heavy logos are accessories like hats, scarves, and handbags. There are a few reasons for this, primarily because these are entry level items. These are the most affordable pieces offered by luxury fashion brands and the most affordable to knock off as fast fashion imitations. Secondly, accessories are highly versatile and can be worn with everything, these are items that can easily be added to any outfit. Logomania is also present in traditional apparel including t-shirts, sweatshirts, and high fashion garments such as boiler suits.
Louis Vuitton is not the only brand to participate in the logomania scarf game, but they are one of the more popular brands to create a logo heavy scarf. This garment is simple to produce, has mass appeal, and is relatively affordable to the average consumer. This style is an easy accessory to produce and sell. Today the LV pattern scarf is available in a variety of material mixes, colors, and pattern variations.
The logomania bucket hat has direct ties to the early hip-hop and rap scene in the 80s and 90s, it has remained a cult classic independent of the brand’s logo featured in the pattern. This style is fun, bold, and often bright, bucket hats have been a streetwear favorite for years and work as fantastic statement pieces.