Wear Your Thoughts: New Age Expressionism Is On The Rise
Wear Your Thoughts: New Age Expressionism Is On The Rise
Think of slogans and typography emblazoned across clothes and you are instantly reminded of the early 2000’s – and without a doubt – just as the dominating generation, being that of the millennials, comes into the spotlight, so do some noteworthy hints from yesteryears’ fashion. After all, we are all well aware of the fact that fashion is cyclical.
From political innuendos and ‘sloganary’ messages to pun-intended citations and self-referencing, typographic elements printed over clothing have travelled quite a distance and have been revamped in the due course to mirror the psyche of the time.
Say Hello to comical details and patches as they join in the merry bandwagon!
Although the idea of slogans might conjure thoughts of everything ranging from our most prized A&F’s, Adidas’s and Juicy Couture’s from the 90’s-’00s, the concept dates back to the ’60s when these were a widespread pop-cultural phenomenon.
Initially, a shop in London called Mr. Freedom started popularizing the concept by introducing popular Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck accompanied with a message over T-shirts.
Designers were quick to take on the trend with Vivienne Westwood fearlessly going all out with statements that invoked a rebellious, political and punk-ish tone during the ’70s, thus rendering the trend as a ‘game changer’ on runways. The ’80s saw more of bohemian influences taking over but the advent of the ’90s and early ’00s brought the trend back in terms of branding in a big way.
Designers and labels started exhibiting their brand logos and monograms across clothing, accessories, handbags and even shoes, making people look like walking advertisement bill boards of their products *cringes* – thankfully, we aren’t going to see more of THAT again!
Negative publicity also surrounded the trend when UK-based brand Topman, had to withdraw two of its T-shirts from the market, a blaring consequence of them being a probable cause for condoning domestic violence.
The trend slowly fizzled out when luxury once again resurfaced, bringing subtlety and demure silhouettes on the runways with society looking down upon an ostentatious HERMÈS or LV flashing across clothing or handbags.
BANISHING LOGO BRANDING
The trend did not die out, but merely fizzled out before regaining momentum once again during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. This time around though, it focused less on showing-off how much money you own and spoke more of the person you are.
Fashion has a way of continuously correcting itself and speaks a lot about the mindset of the times, beliefs of people and the society in general. A lot can be said about the collective thinking and future of the world by studying changing and evolving fashion and market trends closely.
SELF EXPRESSION IS KEY
As the digital age evolves and dawns upon us, we find ourselves in a state of perpetual emotion and motion, constantly finding a balance between our inner self and the exterior world we live in. In the last two seasons, slogans and comical representations have found themselves being a mainstay on the fashion calendar with diverse variations of such eye candy being presented to us in ample – be it on the runways or walking unabashedly on the streets.
The current theme focuses on Self-Branding i.e. something that speaks volumes about your individuality without having to utter sentences. It inclines itself more on what the wearer cares about or how he/she perceives himself or herself to be.
Furthermore, the trend of #hashtags and emoji’s has taken the world by storm – apps, virtual stickers, emoji’s, bitmoji’s, etc. have enabled people to express themselves fluently and unapologetically.
In a way, it is safe to acknowledge the rise of the ‘selfie generation’ has paved the path for such apps and stickers to emerge. Bitstrips and Bitmoji’s, celebrity emoji apps like Kim Kardashian’s Kimoji to Charlie Sheen’s Sheenoji, emoji’s are the latest money-minting concept for celebrities as they allow their fan base to market their brand for them on popular social media platforms.
WORDS AND THEIR SIGNIFICANCE
One of the predominant reasons, many would agree, would be because words are expressive, they have a voice of their own and they carry a message. Such is also the case with the youth, the alpha generation or the millennials as we call them. Add to it the happenings around the globe that scream of more injustice than good – and you have to yourself the perfect recipe for this trend to season well.
Wearing a slogan, a message or sporting a profound graphic patch sticker speaks multitudes for what you stand by, believe in or shun completely. It is a mirror of our own soul, which you unapologetically wear and bare in front of the world, showing them a piece of you and it has never been more meaningful than it is in the current times. It is the domain of the youth – and fearlessness, courage and risks.
Certain things will always attract attention, especially when portrayed in a bold way that stands out while quietly hinting towards a graver issue – words, numbers, letters are all such elements that catch your eye. Keeping that in mind, it is safe to say that what you wear is not as important as long as what you wear says the message loud and clear, thought provoking enough in a way that it demands a second look.
STREET-STYLE INFLUENCING DESIGNERS
As the excitement and heat of fashion week approaches, so does the compelling pursuit of standing out in the crowd and attracting the photographer’s lens’ like a butterfly to a flower. Sometimes, streetstyle influences fashion in a big way as do the stories that walk through the ramps affect streetstyle. You see, it’s a two-way street.
In an effort to speak their minds which somewhat translated into getting something off their chest, numerous streetstyle stars and bloggers decorated the streets with eye-catching slogans, pun-intending messages and quirky emoji patches.
Designers are reaching for their pocket dictionaries to add elements of self-expression to their collections and while doing so, aren’t refraining themselves from going all out and getting the likes of accessories, shoes, bags – and even denims – under the inclusive shelter of their ever-expanding umbrellas.
DESIGNERS THIS SEASON
Everywhere you look, this season has been all about surfaces emblazoned across with attention grabbing statements in the form of typography, slogans and comic-inspired patch sticker detailing.
Printed on good quality, heavy-weight T-shirts made using the highest grade of vinyl and popular methods of screen printing and flock printing are the best bet to tap this consumer segment. Techniques of embossing, beading and appliqué can all be experimented with to achieve the desired outputs.
Like message boards and Facebook statuses, slogans like moods are updated regularly, making this trend revolutionary and a great market opportunity which is enormously expanding at a great and successful pace, especially in the current times.
Embroidered patchwork, making use of different techniques available under the hand embroidery and machine embroidery domain is another element which can be tapped on, especially for accessories like bags and shoes.
Popular cartoon and comic characters, trending emoji’s and emoticons, etc. are excellent options to be looked into, as the craze surrounding digital and social media is on its peak.
DIY stickers and pins provide an additional opportunity for designers and brands to create a versatile product for consumers. Different materials available off-the-counter at most stationeries provide ample options to experiment with, which takes us back to my main point, being – there is room aplenty for manufacturers and designers to enter into this market segment right now.
Words To Heed: Leave top to bottom typographic lettering and slogans to bill-boards and body art – a single, subtle message or patch sticker that stands out is the epitome of good taste this season.
The most enticing and clever messages of all would be the ones that invoke curiosity and entail a conversation certain to leave an imprint on others.
Flustered because of the seemingly extinct presence of this trend in the market? Worry not, FFT is coming up with a DIY Workshop for sloganary and emoji patches – if interested, leave a comment below and we will get back to you!
Register for the workshop here