Recommend me simple, high quality brands/items with little or no visible branding.
October 14, 2012 10:31 AM   Subscribe

Recommend me simple, high quality brands/items with little or no visible branding. Every day that I live in the city (London) I feel myself becoming a little more like Cayce Pollard in my reaction to the torrent of branding/advertising that I endure. I like muji products for offering simplicity & high quality with no visible branding or advertising. can you recommend other brands or items that are similarly high quality and "no-branded"?
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory to Shopping (15 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
 
Lands End t-shirts and polos. Well-made basics with no visible branding.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:38 AM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Most good to high quality leather jackets have no visible branding on the exterior.
posted by vers at 10:56 AM on October 14, 2012


a seam ripper might be a good investment (also: cheap, available at any fabric or craft store), you can easily cut off any labels and even remove embroidery (though it might take a few washings for the stitch holes to vanish--just rubbing with your thumb helps too) ...logos printed on plastic can be sanded off with granulated sugar and a piece of paper...i've also had good results removing paint (and not destroying the plastic underneath) with film cement (for old-school filmmaking...it's designed to melt cellulose and little else), though that might be harder to find...
posted by sexyrobot at 11:31 AM on October 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Seasalt is a Cornish clothing company, they don't have shops in London but they do mail order. Most of their men's stuff is not labelled, but have a check if you buy anything as a few items are, usually on the left arm. I look less at the women's stuff so check that before buying.
posted by biffa at 11:31 AM on October 14, 2012


I don't know whether you're a guy or a girl, and what your style sense and budget are, but given you're in the UK, I'd recommend Brora, which is a British company. They make sturdy, high-quality clothing, I believe their factories are in Britain/Europe and they pay fair wages, and nothing I've bought from them has had visible branding. That said, they're quite pricey.
posted by UniversityNomad at 12:13 PM on October 14, 2012


Nau clothing never has any external branding. The logo is almost always on an internal fabric tag, or the hang tag on shirts, easily removed if even that's objectionable. Here's a 2008 interview with their then-VP of brand communication on the matter. There've been some changes to the company since, but the overall ethos remains.
posted by Su at 12:35 PM on October 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Uniqlo's stuff is pretty good for this, if I recall correctly.
posted by zer0render at 1:01 PM on October 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Most clothes don't have any visible branding. It's easy enough to find basic t-shirts, dresses, jackets, pants, etc. Clothing wise, your main problem is going to be with jeans and sneakers. I also go by the Cayce Pollard rule whenever possible, and I have a really hard time finding sneakers that aren't slathered in logos and don't use an iconic design that basically is the logo (i.e. Converse or Keds). Jeans are usually easy enough if you don't buy a sought-after label.

The main things that are actually difficult are electronics and consumables. Also bikes. And, I suppose, cars, though I think cars are beyond the scope of the Cayce Pollard approach.

For consumable items like toiletries, I just take them out of the packaging and put them in something else (this is why muji is so great -- they sell great containers for doing this). The only thing you can't really do this with is toothpaste. In terms of food, this is why things like salt cellars, spice jars, and oil cruets were invented.

Electronics are pretty impossible, though, unless you're willing to sacrifice quality in order to get something nondescript looking. Then again, even the shitty generic electronics are plastered with the logo of whatever dull brand makes them. Blergh.

Bikes can be powder-coated at an auto body shop to hide the logo, with the added bonus that it also gets rid of surface rust and you can choose just about any color you want.

I would really like a suggestion of truly nondescript and unbranded sneakers that are good quality, easy to get, and not stupid self-aware No Logo type junk.
posted by Sara C. at 1:07 PM on October 14, 2012


M&S
posted by singingfish at 1:55 PM on October 14, 2012


American apparel, j. crew, marks & spencer, superga, any number of stores in central london will have more stuff without brands than with. The list is endless. Not to be unnecessarily snide, but anyone who wears collared shirts and $60+ shoes knows that it's easier to find no-brand clothes than it is to find branded clothes at that price, unless what you're looking for is some kind of gucci space suit.

My impression is that you are actually just trying to find a pair of nikes, a pair of levis, and a giant branded t-shirt to wear without having to actually wear any brands. Aside from physically removing logos with tools or bleach as other comments above suggest, I suggest changing your wardrobe or giving up. Either option is pretty easy and will prevent you from becoming a nutcase like Casey Pollard in the long run.

Anyone who has a physical reaction to the sight of the Michelin Man doesn't deserve emulation.
posted by anewnadir at 2:01 PM on October 14, 2012


Generic Surplus makes shoes & sneakers without external logos.
posted by acidic at 2:11 PM on October 14, 2012


At the book signing we went to, Gibson was wearing Visvim sneakers. He complimented the good doctor on his Acronym jacket and me on my Natalia Brilli helmet bag, so make of that what you will.
posted by evoque at 4:50 PM on October 14, 2012


For electronics I have two approaches...

One: sticker over the brand... This can be a sticker of a cause you believe in, something abstract/arty or even a competing brand (I've put apple stickers on things that look nothing like apple products, this amuses me for some reason).

Two: nail polish - it helps if you have an artistic side (or artist friend); this works great for small electronics (think MP3 player or bluetooth headset).

For corporate gear (hey workplace, thanks for the fancy backpack; no I don't want to be a walking advert for my workplace) patches can work great (again, make your own political statement, or band preference, national flag, or whatever)... Also I've used a sharpie to make white stitches fade into the background (for embroidered branded stuff). For bonus fun, get corporate shwag at conferences and unbrand that same shwag while you're walking around the conference.
posted by el io at 5:58 PM on October 14, 2012


Bikes can be powder-coated at an auto body shop to hide the logo, with the added bonus that it also gets rid of surface rust and you can choose just about any color you want.

Note: this only works for steel frames.

Most business wear has no visible branding.

Most denim is pretty easy to debrand with a seam ripper (which is how Cayce does it anyway).

Threadless tshirts feature art, but no branding.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:42 PM on October 14, 2012


I really don't like wearing visible logos on my person - although from your question I'm not sure whether you feel the same or whether you've gone the full Will Self and are about to pay someone a lot of money to take all the Volvo branding off your car.

Brora do make nice clothing but they are VERY expensive - the couple of items I have of theirs came from eBay, as their jumpers average out at £250 and paying that for one item of clothing frightens me. Uniqlo clothing lasts well in my experience. My previous glasses were brand-name and the logo made me feel weirdly uncomfortable - I now wear a non-branded vintage pair which I got relensed. In fact, vintage clothing might be a way to go if it suits your style/shape.

For toiletries, you can peel off the label from bottles very easily, try removing them with nail-varnish, or decant them into plain pump bottles. If you wear make-up, you can depot your containers into a single palette easily (Google will tell you how).

You might find Neil Boorman's Bonfire of the Brands book useful - he was a style journalist who decided to give up all branding for a period of time - not just logoed clothing but food, entertainment and toiletries.


I would really like a suggestion of truly nondescript and unbranded sneakers that are good quality, easy to get, and not stupid self-aware No Logo type junk.


I have a pair of Hush Puppies shoes that I bought for walking that may fit the bill, although an old lady complimented them at the bus stop so perhaps they're built for comfort rather than speed.

Anyone who has a physical reaction to the sight of the Michelin Man doesn't deserve emulation.
I'm actually quite fond of the Michelin man as we had a light-up one on our car as a kid. Off to eBay...
posted by mippy at 8:05 AM on October 17, 2012


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