29
Jul
26
Jun
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.

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.

26
Jun
nickelsonwooster:

Thom Browne.  Fall 2011.  Want.

I love the signature pull tab on the back.

nickelsonwooster:

Thom Browne. Fall 2011. Want.

I love the signature pull tab on the back.

08
Jun

Some expanded thoughts on logos and branding in menswear

Given the past few posts here that tangentially deal with the idea of logos and branding, perhaps it’s a decent time to open up the discussion a bit more on the topic. 

Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of having logos on my clothing or excessive branding. This, however, isn’t uniform throughout my clothing that I own. A few dress shirts have some discreet logos on the placket, but when tucked in it’s invisible.

Until my most recent pair of glasses, my old frames had a “D&G” branding on the sides. Other than the fact that they were three years old, this was another reason to replace them with something newer (and sans branding).

Still, when it comes to buying new products now (or perhaps considering used ones via thrifting or eBay), clearly visible branding and logos do play a major role in my decision to avoid a particular item. This leads to a good point though from elijahlain, who brought up this whole topic:

Can’t help but wonder if RL doesn’t actually lose money because of their obnoxious branding. We can’t be the only people who abstain from purchasing RL because of it. Anyway, thank you for the advice. Always appreciated.

For better or worse, I think the Polo logo does help Ralph Lauren sell its clothing. When you’re trying to massively expand your brand, then you must do several things. First, you have to find a way to distinguish yourself from others and developing your brand means being instantly identifiable in a sea of competition. An easy way to do that is to have a logo that’s unique — yet also encapsulates your image and ties well into your brand’s story and marketing efforts.

Sure, you can sell on other points, too — like the quality of your garments, the original style of them, their fit, etc. — but you still want something visual that ties the whole brand together. Logos tend to do that nicely and their repetition helps implant this into the consumer’s mind.

When your shirts are on a rack, the logo makes it easy to identify and if you have a good brand name, then it draws the eye and influences the customer’s decision over a shirt with a different logo (or no logo at all). Regardless of the outcome, you’ve differentiated yourself in a moment, and if you’re betting on your brand’s strength, this is a good thing.

Secondly, as your brand becomes popular, so does its mass market appeal for wearing it. Since I’d imagine a good percentage of people see owning certain items of clothing as a symbol of status and perhaps boastfulness at times, a logo is appealing.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that for many consumers the quality of the article of clothing is secondary to 1.) the price and 2.) the brand. If price is your guiding factor, then you’ll go wherever you’ll receive the most utility. However, if the brand is the preference, you’ll pay whatever price.

I suppose if you wanted to blame the overabundance of logos and brands names splattered across the chests of T-shirts, polos and (heaven help us) pants, then you can point your disapproval toward those who allow brand to solely dictate their purchasing decisions and want to show off their allegiance to that brand and its marketed “lifestyle”.

I’m going to be a bit derisive here, but I think this kind of thinking often shows poor taste. And I’ll go one step further and say that brands that cater to this kind of behavior are doing themselves a disservice to their brand for the sake of more money and mass appeal (like those Polo shirts above). 

But in the end, it’s all about business and Polo has done great business by appealing to more people — the kind of people who could care less about Ralph Lauren’s “made in Italy” suiting options and more about having an embroidered logo on their left breast. Any money they’re losing from people who care about not having logos is surely made up several times over by those who would insist on buying a garment with one sewn in.

Can any branding be done nicely and not look obnoxious? I think so. My personal favorite branding example in clothing is Thom Browne. I like the way he manages to incorporate the red, white and blue stripe into his clothing, like in the cardigan below. Those stripes play well against his base of neutral tones and makes his clothing identifiable, yet, not tacky. (His fits, however, are another story.)

ADDING: Some other discussion:

Via girouxmcisaak (who also wrote a great post: "Why logos are outdated"):

I wrote about about logos a while back but the fact of the matter is most people buy PRL FOR the logo. It’s a shortcut for saying “I have money and taste”.

Agreed! And I think we both definitely agree that one cannot simply purchase taste — just as they cannot simply walk into Mordor.

Via aslightoffkilter:

I think that one of the best examples of effective branding is Levi’s’ back-pocket stitching. It doesn’t stand out with their name or illustrate any audacious logo, but it’s relevant to their brand, and it’s applicable to every one of their products.

Good point and I’d add their leather patch and red tag on the back also contribute to an overall look of the brand. Honestly, I think their jeans would look really odd without all of those things.

08
Jun
08
Jun

What do you think about removing branding from a particular item?

Let's take, for example, this RL rugby: http://bit.ly/jVvQJT
I love the item itself, and I love the current sale price.
But I hate hate hate the traditional RL branding. As much as I might like an item, any branding like that is an unequivocal deal breaker.

So, to return to the question, is is possible to remove such blatant branding? Do you suppose a tailor would be able and willing to do so? Would it end up looking okay, do you suppose? (What about removing the RL branding from, say, one of their oxfords?)

Thanks for the insight. You have one of the most consistently helpful style blogs out there, all the way from style advice to particular piece suggestions. You're the man.

- Asked by elijahlain

I think some branding can be removed, but you’re often left with its ghosts. On an embroidered piece like that Polo rugby, I’d imagine that since it’s sewn into the cloth, you’d have stitch holes where the logo used to be at. Probably a lot of holes.

Could it be removed? Yes, I suppose, in theory. Would it look OK afterward? Probably not, if not even worse than with the logo.

If the branding was done via a tag, patch or some other way, it’s possible to get rid of it and have it look OK sometimes. It largely depends on the fabric, stitching, etc. All you need is a sharp razor blade or small knife and could probably do it yourself.

Hope this helps. Frankly, I also find Polo’s logo to be obnoxiously placed everywhere, which prevents me from buying a lot of their products.

About The Silentist

A menswear blog on finding your personal style, written by Kiyoshi Martinez.

I work at Khaki's of Carmel and live in the Monterey Bay area. Formerly from Chicago.

E-mail me, I'm fairly nice: thesilentist@gmail.com

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