Paying for Branding

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Paying For Branding

By Molly Cohen

Publishing Fast Fashion? all about Moschino’s McDonalds collection got me thinking: Moschino essentially promoted McDonalds, free of charge. And in turn, the consumers who chose to wear the clothing promoted McDonalds. Long story short: the consumers are paying for branding.

Not a new feat by any means, especially when thinking about the designer handbag industry. Coach bags are coated with “C”s, and Louis Vuitton bags have “LV” subtly printed amidst their design. Though seemingly small details, these icons not only fill up the blank canvas, they also stand for something.

The letters remind the wearer that they are wearing a designer label.
Perhaps this promotes confidence in the wearer, or a higher sense of social status.

For the common passerby, the bag gives its wearer a higher status.
A designer bag automatically creates an assumption of wealth.

The bag could potentially make its wearer a target.
Wearing a thousand dollar bag is just that: having a thousand dollars in your hand.

Today, our society runs on symbols. When going into a public bathroom, we know which room we’re going into when we see the male or female silhouette on the door. When driving, we know to slow down and stop when we see a pedestrians crossing sign. When turning on a computer, we know that the broken circle with a line is the power button. When pressing play to watch a movie or listen to a song, we know that the arrow is the play button.

Whether you’re conscious of it or not, we use symbols on a daily basis. In fact, we get so used to seeing symbols that I would argue that we stop noticing them. So it should come as no surprise that symbols are on clothing as well. However, the symbols mentioned in the above paragraph all serve as functions in serviceability – they are designed for the user. Meanwhile the fashion designer logos serve as marketing elements – to create branding and recognition for the designer.

Despite the fact that the designer logo was created with the designer in mind, consumers seem to care too. There are plenty of people dedicated to distinguishing the real from the fake designer bag. Evidence #1

Though arguably incredibly important, the symbols do spur some questions. Once again (and I’m sure not the last), the topic of worth comes up on this site.
•Is it worth spending cash on a designer handbag for the sense of confidence it could potentially bring?
•For someone who wants to show off their professional achievements through appearance, is it worth investing in the designer logo?

These are only questions; food for thought if you will.

What do you think of the designer logo craze? Do you think it’s even related to worth? Have you ever paid for branding (regardless of whether the item was fashion related)? Was your purchase worth the price tag?

Here’s an interesting read if you’re interested in the origin of computer symbols.