We, humans, come into this world with certain branding – family name, ethnicity, nationality, religion. Then, some of us, attend private kindergarten, private school, prestigious University… Most of us enter corporate life, or join a family business. We go to churches, synagogues, mosques, temples. We get admitted to the hospital, we die at the end of our life. All of the stages in our life are accompanied by the new flag, new branding, new logo. Even the funeral agencies have logos(…
Logo is not only an artistic image – logo has the power to put us where we want to be in the society, in the world. I am not talking about golden arches of MacDonald, not about so called identification logos.
When we are in public schools (I apologise for the English/Australian discrepancy), the meaning of the logo is more about our own achievements (especially, when we get to selective schools). Private school logo says more about achievements of your parents. Whatever it is, its still a club where the entry is regulated by the tickets stamped with the logos.
I studied the history of fashion logos for some time, and was not surprised to learn, that the founder of Gucci, called Guccio Gucci worked as a lift operator in a very famous Savoy in London at the beginning of the last century. He came up with the idea that even the rich people in Italy then needed something to enter the club they were not allowed to enter – the aristocracy club. Thats how famous Gucci’s monogram was created – it instantly infused his clothes and accessories with aristocratic flavour.
Most certainly Ralph Lauren from Odessa immigrant family in Brooklyn would have many dreams about polo games and polo clubs. Maybe their doors were closed for him too?
Coco Chanel, of poor childhood, with lots of dreams and aspirations.. Maybe, she also knocked on the doors which did not open for her? It seems that the founders of great brands dreamt about something they could not get – their logo might have represented the ticket to the sacred places of their dreams.
Therefore in my opinion, people who buy logos are buying tickets to the theatre of their dreams, sometimes to the theatre of life, to the club closed to them. The logo consumers are sort of saying – “the only items which are value for money, have logos, because they place us in accordance with the price we pay. Therefore, Guess and Coach will put us in the gallery in this theatre, Gucci or Chanel might give us a front row.” This ticket has a price, but there is no price tag for the place on the stage, or in the holy of holiest, behind the curtain, among the people we worship and want to be like them. Does it not make them wannabes?
In the post soviet Russia, logos have had the mental price tag for many historical reasons, mainly for the absence of its own aristocracy, for the absence of its own self esteem. Russia, therefore, became one of the biggest consumers of fashion logos in the world. Even the layers of post soviet society started to get its shape in accordance to the money paid for the entry tickets.
Meanwhile, all over the world September 11 became the historic landmark for the fashion consumers, because it marked the start of anti-logo movement. Suddenly, it became unfashionable to be glitzy rich, to look like nouveau riche and to wear expensive logos. The new wave of consumers started to boycott the logos, willing to dress not in accordance to the brand, but in accordance to their own taste. Bottega Veneta for example created the motto – “When your Initials are enough”.
Many of self sufficient people realised, that wearing logo, also meant free advertising for the logos. Those people started the movement, called now “Discreet Luxury”, they wear cashmere sweaters and expensive shoes sans logos, while they can afford very expensive yachts and private planes. They could buy art, they could do whatever they want to do. Even if they cannot afford any of the above, they could still afford to be themselves. This movement in the world faces many obstacles, due to enormous advertising budget the logo brands allocate to all channels of media.
The future of Discreet Luxury movement depends on the proportion of people with individual taste, with their own opinion. What matters, these people have emerged, their discreet society is becoming bigger, their presence is becoming more noticeable, the membership in their society is becoming more and more prestigious.