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8th April 2024

The big logo trend: Where does it stand in 2024?

As logos take a backseat on the runway and in our wardrobes, our emphasis is shifting more towards quality and style
The big logo trend: Where does it stand in 2024?
Photo: Nothing Ahead @ Pexels

When you think of a big logo, the first thing that might come to mind is an excessively ugly black or white T-shirt, with the name of a semi-famous fashion designer emblazoned across the chest. For many, a logo tends to scream: “Look at me, I have money” or something similarly vain. Perhaps you think a logo means the wearer has absolutely no taste in fashion.

And whilst these sentiments could run true, the big logo trend might be on its way out. In mid-2023, customers in North America had purchased 43% fewer logo products compared to the previous year. Sales of logo-ed items were down 16% in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa too.

There was a time between the 1990s and mid-2000s when dressing head-to-toe in designer clothing complete with logos was a sign of wealth and success. But to many, big logos are now nothing but a means for pretence. In fact, the Financial Times’ Teo Van den Broeke recently dubbed big logos on clothes “absurd amid a cost of living crisis.”

More than anything, we’ve moved from block lettering to delicate initials and discreet logos – as if to say: “If you know, you know.” Labels used to be big business, but buyers are ready to look for other reasons to part with their cash, whether that be the quality or style. So-called “logomania” does not hold sole purchasing power and instead, the runway is home to increasingly logo-free options.

Man of the hour JW Anderson’s collaboration with UNIQLO immediately springs to mind, with shirts and socks neatly finished with his initials. Anderson’s latest fashion week collections are prime examples too, with Harper’s Bazaar nicknaming last year’s LOEWE collection a “reductionist agenda.” In an era in which we’re told our individual impact on the planet is ever-pressing, can it be said that neutral and timeless basics are at an all-time popularity?

Logo-free clothes are an aesthetic in themselves. Scandinavian style is on the rise, often described as a laid-back but at the same time sophisticated approach to clothing. High-quality basics are a solid foundation for any wardrobe, and often those from renowned fashion houses, despite the absence of logos, will stand you in the best stead for longevity.

Business of Fashion last year reported on the increasing popularity of fashion houses adopting a process of ‘blanding’ their logos – ones which are designed not to stand out, but to blend in. They say this makes them “appear more traditional and heritage-driven,” but equally less garish. And this can be seen in the clothes too.

The decreasing popularity of big logos could be down to the rise of the ‘Old Money’ aesthetic. The term ‘Old Money’ – and the lifestyle and status which comes with it – remains a case of fascination. Skiing in the French Alps, jetting off to the Bahamas, or trips to a second home in the French Rivera – it’s a distant dream compared to the streets of Fallowfield and the joys of the journey into uni on the 142.

Some of the shows we watch can be classified as depicting this lifestyle too, whether that be the lives of privileged upper-class adolescents in Gossip Girl – notably Blair Waldorf and Serena van der Woodsen – or the Roy family in Succession. And although many aspects of this life are unattainable, the look, in many ways, is not. Designer clothing might be out of the question, but the basics of the ‘Old Money’ aesthetic are more accessible. Since such a rise, Depop has seen a 70% increase in searches for ‘collared shirts’, and a 76% increase for ‘trench coats’.

Discrete logos are big too. Consider Lacoste‘s polo tennis shirts, featuring their iconic crocodile emblem. These are among some of the first menswear logos to be prominently showcased on clothing. The two overlapping C’s from Chanel’s logo, Tommy Hilfiger’s red, white, and blue flag design, the Nike swoosh, or any of the major fashion houses’ monograms are all notable contenders too.

Even streetwear brands are adopting a more refined approach to logos. Take the Stussy graffiti-style typeface for example – it’s pretty recognisable. But notice how these larger logos now appear more frequently on the back of t-shirts and jumpers, instead of being emblazoned on the front.

But even if a logo is on the front, it doesn’t mean it can’t be playful. The graphic tees picked out by GQ in some of recent their style roundups represent a great diversity of what brands can do with their logos. Whether that be incorporating the logo into a larger design or playing around with the typeface – there’s no excuse for keeping it simple.

And this isn’t to say the big logo era is over. Demand for possibly one of the most iconic branded bags, the Marc Jacobs Tote Bag, is still at a high, with the hashtag for the bag attracting 86.5 million views on TikTok alone in 2023, and Google searches increasing by 1,850% compared to 2022. Brands are thinking more about the tote, particularly from its ability to act as a walking billboard.

But think about any of the free totes you’ve been given by a brand or picked up from somewhere unexpected. You’re equally going to spot ones from bookstores such as Daunt Books, The Strand, and Shakespeare & Company or boutique glasses brands like Ace & Tate or Ollie Quinn on our streets as the frequently duped Louis Vuitton brown monogram bag.

It’s not as easy nowadays to just slap a logo on a product and call it a day. Those who want to do so are going to have to try a lot harder to take our well-earned cash.

Jacob Robinson

Jacob Robinson

Head Investigations Editor & MMG News Producer 2023-24 | Former Head of Talk Shows and Deputy Head of Podcasting at Fuse FM 2022-23

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