WHAT THE FONT IS GOING ON?
Updated: May 6
Slogans and logos have definitely been coming back in full force and it doesn't seem to go away. At this point, I am drunk already of the slogans that are emphasized on clothing and accessories from New York to Milan. This post might seems more like a rant but whatever, can we talk?
With brands like Vetements, who like to shake up the fashion scene by their subversive collection, or Hood By Air who took a storm as an unapologetically streetwear brand. Slapping a slogan on the clothes seems to REALLY be a thing these days.
This was further proven by the arrivals of slogans on the collection of more traditional luxury brands (which normally have a strong heritage of codes from their archive). Recently, a house like Dior, Valentino, and Versace dare to breakaway from their usual aesthetics to integrate some slogans into their collection.
I get it, a trend is a trend. But I can't help but thinking whenever i see some of those pieces "what on earth were they on for choosing such ugly fonts?????"
Since many of these brands i mentioned are pretty much brands with alot of hype around it, there ARE actually people who embrace these ugly fonts and some even prance around in it in various fashion events (ehm. fashion slaves)..
Vetements is no stranger in creating outfits that are 'out of the ordinary'. Therefore, putting their brands' name on a hoodie with a college style font is supposed to be a no shock for them. The brand, as its name (French for Clothes) clearly states it; meant to show the real-life of clothes, or clothing at its truest form. However, eventhough a college sweatshirt IS a real-life piece of clothing (that i personally never own), a 800 $ retail price clearly does not reflect a real humble life.
Then comes another font that Vetements, along with other brands, adopted ;the gothic font.
I personally do not get how this font comes to life in the high fashion scene. It reminds me of one of those wacky heavy metal t-shirts sold on street markets in Indonesia where I grew up, and I thought it should just stay there. Yet it haunts me back today.
This font does not stop there. Italian house Gucci also sent a sweater with gothic font text on it down the spring/summer 2017 menswear show.
Alessandro Michele is the wonderboy that has transformed the Gucci house completely. His bold aesthetics clearly served him well by putting Gucci up in profits and makes the brand to be a darling favourite among fashion editors. That fonts doesn't serve my eyes well though.
One would have never thought that a traditional French house like Dior would jump into the slogan bandwagon. Yet they did.
Since the appointment of Maria Grazia Chiuri, being the first female creative director of the house, the house might have felt the need to shake things up abit more and present something different and unexpected. This is clearly a great PR move. But is it any good?
For its Spring-Summer 2017 collection, which marked Maria Grazia's first collection at Dior, the house presented t-shirts with slogans that carry a sense of activism. First came "We should all be feminist", clearly taken from a book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and famously sampled by Beyonce. Then comes "Dio(r)evolution". These 2 t-shirts already made the whole collection screams "Who run the world!??? Girls!"
And as if they weren't enough, Maria Grazia also splashed a reinveted Dior logo all over its accessories (that finally reappeared in the next season's collection), and turned its J'adore slogan into J'adior crafted with a font that reminds me of my early Microsoft Words experiment back in primary school.
The house took the slogan theme and not afraid to run with it throughout the whole collection. Putting them on dress straps, shoes, and linings. As the collection hits the stores, they even decorated the windows with the feminist slogans. Showing no signs of stopping.
Another couture house that participates in the ugly fonts convention is non other than Valentino. Gone were the days of the classic sartorial look of the Italian house. For the Fall/Winter 2018 menswear collection, the house decided to give a more relaxed attitude with a strong streetwear inspiration.
Whatever message they were trying to put out, they were not afraid to slap them on the clothes. This time in forms of cut-out words and letters.
Another Italian powerhouse, Versace, is the latest to join the trend. Their latest collection for Fall/Winter 2017-18 seems rather different than typical Versace style. Not only it seems abit more sporty, and less glamour girl as what Versace has been known for, but also the appearance of texts with strong statements such as "Courage", "Power", and "Equality". The words appeared everywhere and bold; on the skirt, on a beenie, on a scarf, and even on shoes.
Eventhough the font of the text itself is rather classical, almost Arial kind of font (you know..that font that normally offends nobody), but I really wonder if it's really Versace to do this? Do they really have to sacrifice their codes and aesthetics for the sake of trend? Because to me, the collection was almost unrecognizable as a Versace collection.
This trend shows no sign of going away soon. But I guess there are reasons behind it.
The fashion industry itself has been going through major changes in the past 5 years. The appointments of designers on the head of major houses and one leaving another, all leading to one thing: a change. The executives (or whoever runs the industry) are looking for ways to refresh the runways and new narratives. The only way to do it, is by showing and embracing some bold aesthetics that even if it looks batshit crazy, it will get the public talking.
Moreover, the political turmoil all over the world has made it harder and harder for the fashion industry to ignore. The Brexit, the refugee crisis, to Trump presidency have inspired these designers to speak their mind and their stance in a bolder fashion.
We also can't deny the fact that we are living in the internet age. The evolution of internet also plays a big role in pushing this trend forward. As the importance of social media becomes bigger, and instagram becomes a free medium of publication on its own, everything in fashion these days seem to be made for social media display. From over the top fashion show decorations to the collections itself, every images snapped can go viral within seconds. Designers can push their message forward faster and reach millions of people thanks to social media. It definitely helps creating a buzz surrounding the brand, and they certainly choose to play that card in order to keep up.
At the end I get it, fashion should reflect the time that we are currently living in. Having said that, a decade from now I could look back at these collections and would be able to tell that the world went through a terrible state..with some terrible fonts.
So here's hoping that we can all get through it quickly, safe and sound.
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