Superbranding trend in athletic gear and clothing
April 15, 2019 3:38 PM   Subscribe

What is this superbranding trend in athletic gear and clothes? It is not just Nike. Huge, huge logos on clothes, athletic shoes, jogging sets, hoodies, and some of the products have multiple logos right next to each other. It was suggested that it started because of the brand Supreme, but looking through their products the clothing they offer doesn't really have big logos like that, even if the bags and hats have their signature logo. And I am looking for a more nuanced or even academic explanation and history, possibly like the interesting one in "The Devil Wears Prada." Has anyone seen any detailed articles, even in academic journals, or in books or other publications that examine it in detail? "Overbranding", which is what sneakernews referenced as part of Nike's name for that pair of shoes, seems to firmly mean negatively overdoing it with your brand, so I just called it "Superbranding" until I learn what the actual used term is. What's the story here?
posted by cashman to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Look at the photos of Rene Lacoste (of the crocodile shirt fame) from the 1920s. The more things change...
posted by wnissen at 3:52 PM on April 15 [2 favorites]

Another example is Ralph Lauren's "CP-93" collection, which was originally released in, well, 1993, and got re-released last year. Not surprising, considering how much 90s fashion is back in style now. It's more retro than it is new.
posted by brainmouse at 4:09 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]

I heard a theory that book jacket designers are using larger fonts and designs to appeal to Instagram users—thinking about how the book would “pop” if it’s in an Instagram photo next to a coffee on a marble surface. I could see the same being true here—the designers want the logo to catch your eye as you scroll through the tiny picture boxes on Instagram.
posted by sallybrown at 4:36 PM on April 15 [2 favorites]

Here is an article that might be helpful. Basically the streetwear brands, including Supreme but also Off White and Vetements and Hood By Air, started playing with and subverting logos, both their own and others as well (DHL, Champion logos). That has now spread across the industry as mainstream brands caught on and those streetwear designers went to the big couture houses (Vasalia to Balenciaga, Abloh to Louis Vuitton) and brought that irreverence to high fashion.
posted by sestaaak at 4:44 PM on April 15 [6 favorites]

I feel like there are two separable things at play in the examples you listed: superbranding (giant Lacoste alligator, two swooshes on a shoe) and subversive deconstruction/verbosity (Off White, Hood By Air). I don't think they're particularly related, aside from both making for more "noisy" visuals.

Basically, what sestaaak said.
posted by so fucking future at 5:35 PM on April 15

I heard a theory that book jacket designers are using larger fonts and designs to appeal to Instagram users

The giant “bench” logos antedate insta by years; William Gibson once referred to them as fashion optimized for search engines.
posted by mhoye at 6:07 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]

Idk, I consider this trend as an odd mixture of new wave nostalgia (especially of 80s corporate yuppie life and 90s low-tech Windows 95 culture) and hipster irony (I distinctly remember wearing a Champion sweater in elementary school was NOT a fashion look). Take those symbols then amplify it 1000% because it's playful and image centric and ironic. That culture starts deep in the trenches, then a la Malcolm Gladwell's tipping point, make air way into the big leagues, without much of the context that it originated with.

Basically the way I see it, postmodernism is just manifesting in pop culture. Kinda makes sense when postmodern architects did the same thing. Except instead of enlarging up a "tacky" Champion logo, they enlarged a "tacky" gable or bust capital of themselves.

Oversimplification, but I think same philosophical principles are at work. It just made its way to the Hypebeast crowd.
posted by galleta monster at 7:07 PM on April 15

Like, it's a thing.
posted by cashman at 6:31 PM on April 23

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