When I was in high school every few months we had a ‘no uniform’ day, I went to a private girls school, and ‘no uniform’ days were the equivalent to a teen fashion parade, it was a day where everyone could show how stylish, how trendy, how wealthy they were. The latest fad were low rise Sass & Bide jeans, if you had the logo plastered on your right buttock, it meant you could afford a $220 pair of jeans. You had made it.
Logos are part of our everyday lexicon. Most of us have grown up with so much advertising in our lives we have become numb to it. Logos fill every inch of our visual, mental and digital space. When there is so much advertising noise in our everyday life, brands have to find new ways to scream louder to be heard above everyone else. This is true in the most literal sense - have you noticed how much louder commercial breaks are compared to the actual television program? They do this for a reason, they want to shout louder, to demand more of your attention.
I used to live a logo-driven life, the latest Louis Vuitton handbag was a necessity, a Ralph Lauren polo shirt with the ubiquitous polo logo was worn proudly, even my flip-flips had to have the Havaianas logo. God forbid, I wore a ‘no brand’ pair of flip flops!
Logos themselves mean nothing, yet they also mean everything. A YSL handbag means you are chic, a LV handbag means you are rich, a BMW car means you have made it in the world. The product is no longer based on the functionality or even the aesthetics, it is based on what the brand represents. Brands are not just selling products, but are selling a lifestyle. They are selling what Naomi Klein describes in her book ‘No Logo’ as an almost ‘spiritual connection’. They are selling ‘an idea, a set of values, a way of life’.
It wasn’t always like this. The arrival of a logo-driven society changed in the money-hungry eighties. Klein writes ‘until the early seventies, logos on clothes were generally hidden discreetly inside the collar.’ Nowadays, the logo is often unnecessarily large, these logos have served the same function as ‘keeping the price tag on’.
As many of you know, I haven’t bought any new clothing in over three years. In boycotting the fast fashion industry, I’ve also boycotted logos. To me, clothing no longer is about status, it is about style. Living a logo-less life isn’t about deprivation, rather, it’s about creativity. Without the confines of logos and what they represent, I’ve actually become more stylish, more creative and more expressive. I have gained more freedom because no one owns me.
I want you to examine how you can live a ‘logo-less’ life. I want you to see how freeing it is to not be defined a brand name. I would love to hear about your journey below.