Introduction – What are logo fashion and logomania?
Luxury brands are known for their logos. People can easily point out what luxury brand an item belongs to based on the logo on it. Some luxury pieces are simple and just have the brand’s name or logo printed once, while others have the brand’s logo all over the piece. The latter can be called a logo or monogram pattern, and the trend itself is called logomania or monogram fashion. Fashion houses such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Fendi are known to utilize logo patterns on their pieces and contribute to monogram fashion. These luxury brands have reached peak success and popularity that they do not need to write out their brand name on all their items and can have their logos speak, in this case, loudly for themselves through logo patterns. This article delves into what each fashion house’s logo is, how the monogram fashion trend came about, and the purpose luxury logos serve.
Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Fendi – Their Logos
Like many fashion houses, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Fendi have monogram logos. A monogram logo is made out of letters, usually the initials of the brand or founder. All three logos are quite simple and similar in look, yet are still distinct from one another.
In 1921, Gucci was founded by Guccio Gucci in Florence, Italy. The Gucci logo consists of two interlocking “Gs” as the G on the right is reflected. The two Gs stand for the founder’s name. It was designed in 1933 by Guccio Gucci’s son Aldo. Although this logo is still widely known as Gucci’s logo, there are other variations of it. For example, there is the logo where both Gs are facing the right and the leftmost G is overlapping the other. This variation is commonly seen as the buckle or accent piece on Gucci bags and belts today. Another variation is mainly seen as part of the logo pattern where the G’s are placed next to each other and the rightmost G is upside down.
Louis Vuitton Logo
Louis Vuitton was founded in Paris, France by Louis Vuitton in 1854. Similar to Gucci, Louis Vuitton’s logo is the founder’s first and last initials interlocked. However, Louis Vuitton’s logo has the “L” and “V” interlocked on top of one another with only the “L” italicized. It was also created by the founder’s son. Georges Vuitton created the logo in 1896, four years after his father’s death. In addition to the monogram, Georges created the pattern that includes the logo, circle, flower, and quatrefoil. He created the monogram pattern to differentiate Louis Vuitton from other companies that were trying to copy their style.
Fendi was founded in 1925 by Adele and Edoardo Fendi in Rome, Italy. It wasn’t until 40 years later when Karl Lagerfeld became the creative director of the house that he created the Fendi logo seen today. It took him 3 seconds to create the logo that is two Fs placed next to each other with the rightmost F being upside down. This logo is called the inverted Zucca, and the two Fs stand for “fun fur” because Fendi is known for its fur and fur accessories. On its own, the logo makes a geometric shape that lends itself well when repeated to make a pattern for Fendi pieces.
History of Logo Fashion
Before the 1980s, logos were not strewn all over luxury items. If one went into a Gucci, Louis Vuitton, or Fendi store, they would see leather bags, luggage, wallets, and shoes with prints and patterns on them but not logos. The brand names and logos were usually hidden somewhere on the inside of the items. On the chance that someone was knowledgeable about luxury fashion, they would have an easier time being able to point out a Gucci piece versus a Louis Vuitton piece without having to look inside them. For the average person, it would have been very difficult.
Rise of Logomania
This changed when Dapper Dan came onto the scene. Daniel Day, famously known as Dapper Dan, is an American fashion designer and haberdasher. He had his own boutique in Harlem, New York called Dapper Dan’s Boutique where he originally sold clothes. One day, a man came to the store with his girlfriend who had an authentic Louis Vuitton purse. Everyone in the store was amazed by the fancy bag, specifically because of the LV logo on it. Dapper Dan noticed everyone’s excitement about the Louis Vuitton piece, so he said to the man and his girlfriend, “You excited about a little bag?” Imagine if you had a whole jacket.” This piqued the man’s interest, so Dapper Dan said he could make him a jacket that had a luxury monogram on it. He went to the Gucci store and bought a garment bag because it had Gucci logos on it and was enough fabric to incorporate onto a jacket. After successfully making the jacket with real Gucci trim on it, customers started coming to Dapper Dan wanting their own counterfeit luxury piece.
Dapper Dan couldn’t keep going to Gucci to buy out their garment bags, so he learned how to screenprint on leather. With this technique, Dapper Dan was able to cover an entire clothing piece with any designer logo he wanted. In addition to Gucci, he made fake Louis Vuitton, Fendi, and MCM outfits. Even though the clothes Dapper Dan was making didn’t come directly from the luxury stores themselves, his customers didn’t care because they liked the look of a luxury logo all over their bodies. They said, “I’m buying that from Dapper Dan. I don’t care if Gucci or Louis Vuitton didn’t make it. I’m buying it.” It was through the high demand for his counterfeit luxury clothes that Dapper Dan realized the power of a luxury logo. He said, “It signifies status, and money, which go hand in hand. The thing is, you can have the status but nobody will know you don’t have the money. So that’s what gives it such an impact in your look.”
As more and more people were styling themselves head-to-toe in luxury logos, logomania started to become popular. It was at its peak in the 1980s and early 90s. During this time was also when Dapper Dan was gaining fame for his work. His work caught the attention of the luxury brands themselves, which led to his boutique being raided by the brands multiple times and ultimately shut down in 1992. Although the brands were not happy with Dapper Dan illegally using their logos to sell clothes, they were ultimately inspired by what he was doing. Since then, brands don’t hide their logos anymore and will put them all over their items.
Luxury Brands Adopt the Logo Pattern
Gucci already had a diamante pattern on their products, but this pattern did not have any logo on it. The diamante pattern has been adapted to include the double Gs. Gucci uses this diamante monogram pattern on the items they come out with today. For example, it is used on their canvas bags. Some of Gucci’s most iconic bag styles are the Marmont, Dionysus, Horsebit, Jackie, and Ophidia. All these styles come in different sizes and colors but can all be found in the iconic monogram pattern.
Similar to Gucci, Louis Vuitton also had a pattern without a monogram before creating a pattern with one. This original pattern is called “Damier” and resembles a checkerboard. It was invented 8 years before the monogram pattern in 1888 also by Georges Vuitton. This pattern is still seen on Louis Vuitton products today and has had its own adaptations. The arguably more popular pattern is the monogram. It represents innovation, design, timelessness, and elegance. It can be found on many of Louis Vuitton’s bags such as their Neverfull, Speedy, and Alma.
Fendi is a bit different from Gucci and Louis Vuitton in that they were already using a monogram pattern even before Dapper Dan popularized logomania. They were putting their Zucca pattern on the interior of their travel trunks. Once logomania became a trend, Fendi started putting their Zucca pattern on the outside of just about everything: garments, accessories, bags, shoes, and even home décor. Their most popular item is their Baguette bag. It was designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi in 1997, so it came after the Zucca pattern was made visible on Fendi products. The Baguette bag can be bought in the classic Zucca pattern, as well as in many other colors and styles.
The Evolution of Logo Fashion
Logo Fashion Goes on Hiatus
At its start, logomania was very popular and lasted into the 2000s. However, the trend did die down in the United States during the economic recession of 2008. This was most likely due to those who had wealth feeling embarrassed to wear clothes that screamed “LUXURY” at a time when most people were struggling financially and couldn’t even afford their basic needs. Years after the end of the economic recession, people were comfortable wearing their monogrammed luxury items again. This timing coincided with 90s fashion making its way back into the current trends.
Gucci and Dapper Dan’s Collaborations
As a fashion house, Gucci knows what is in and what will be the next big thing in fashion. They knew logomania was coming back, so in mid-2017, they made a jacket similar to the jacket Dapper Dan made for Olympian Diane Dixon in 1989. The original jacket by Dapper Dan was fur-lined and had balloon sleeves covered in Louis Vuitton’s monogram pattern. Gucci’s version changed the sleeves to have their own monogram pattern. This caused controversy, but it did not prevent Gucci and Dapper Dan from being on good terms with one another. That same year, the two partnered to create a menswear line. The following year, Gucci and Dapper Dan partnered again to open Dapper Dan’s atelier in Harlem. His atelier, called Dapper Dan of Harlem, became the first luxury house fashion store in Harlem. Also in 2018, they released their first collaborative collection, which featured a lot of the clothing pieces and styles Dapper Dan was creating back in the 80s and 90s.
Logo Fashion On Runways
To add to the monogram trend, multiple fashion houses held shows that were all about brand names and logos. At Milan Fashion Week 2021, Fendi and Versace collaborated to design 25 looks for the opposite house. They called the show “Fendance.” Many of the looks featured either Fendi’s logo pattern, Versace’s signature pattern, or even both on one piece. A few months later, Gucci and Balenciaga had their own collaboration, which was a collection titled “Hacker Project.” Rather than a design swap, this collaboration focused more on putting both of their names and logos on the pieces. Through these collaborations, the luxury brands strengthened the presence of the monogram trend in 2021. They also increased the social value of a luxury logo by giving people the opportunity to not only flex one luxury brand but two at once.
Logos are very important when promoting your brand and helping you gain a community of consumers. Professor Carolyn Mair, a behavioral psychologist, says that “Logos are a form of visual communication that enable the wearer to align with the brand’s identity and allow observers who speak that language (i.e. recognise the logo) to align the wearer to that identity.” When people wear a Louis Vuitton logo all over their body, they show support for Louis Vuitton and their values. This idea applies to any brand, luxury or not, but there is more power in a luxury logo because of what luxury brands represent. As luxury products are priced much higher compared to market prices, not everyone is able to purchase them. People who can afford luxury products have the ability to impress others by showing them through their clothing that they have the money to afford luxury brands and are not afraid to show it. Although some may find logomania too much or even tacky, it does not hide the fact that luxury logos are widely known and will forever be. All brands will just have to aspire to attain the same power and status as luxury logos.