Thom Browne longwings with tri-colored sole (via GQ) — Earlier today goingoutgoingin replied to my earlier comment on a pair of Thom Browne longwings, in which I praised the tri-colored pulltab, which also doubles as a branding device for Thom Browne’s line. He pointed out that I’d railed against branding on clothing and that perhaps liking a shoe for such branding is perhaps hypocritical, which is a fair point to bring up.
In that same post on branding, I did mention that I liked Thom Browne’s version of branding, as I thought it actually did something that wasn’t tacky and played well with the clothes in how it was incorporated. On another level, I do like it simply because it can be used to echo other elements in your wardrobe in a place where you typically wouldn’t involve color (your shoes).
I’m a fan of Browne’s colors that he uses, neutrals with red/white/blue. And while I think that his clothes and runway shows aren’t anything I’d ever wear, I do find his accessories to be something that a lot of people could use and incorporate into their wardrobe easily — if you’re someone who wears those colors quite a bit as I’ve been tending to do.
I see Browne’s stripes as more a signature of his brand than a logo, which might be splitting hairs in definitions, but I think that perhaps it’s something worth differentiating. If you see a pair of shoes with brightly colored EVA soles, then you most likely know it’s from Mark McNairy (or perhaps Jil Sander if the shoe’s black). Is that a form of branding or a signature styling? Or both?
Would I ever buy Browne’s shoes at full retail for the express purpose of getting that pulltab? No. At a discount price comparable to another longwing that I perhaps had my eye on? Much more likely. It’s more so a detail I enjoy as part of the whole shoe, not the fact I want to wear something designed by Browne to show it off, but I hardly think it’s worth a premium price.