Okay, I get it. Everyone hates people who feel the need to overtly flaunt designer labels. It’s obnoxious and as the cliche saying goes, “fashion is about style, not about designers.” Also, it’s been proven that showing off designer labels is a tactic the lower class uses to attempt to give the appearance of being upper class.
All of that is true, but it does not change how fly you feel when you look in the mirror in a head-to-toe designer look, or even wearing just one attention-grabbing designer piece. This is a one of a kind feeling. It’s definitely not the same feeling you get when you pull together random pieces and make a look; it’s arguably better, depending on your mood.
And in the end, that’s the goal of fashion: to make you feel good. It does not matter what’s in season, it does not matter what’s on the runway in Milan, it does not matter what the magazines are pushing this month. What matters is how you feel when you look in the mirror, and ultimately, logomania undoubtedly gives you an elevated feeling when you look in the mirror.
Moreover, let’s not forget that we loved logomania at some point. It’s been a while, but when Lil Kim brought the trend to the hip-hop world, we couldn’t get enough of it. Seeing your favorite rapper in an entirely Gucci or Louis outfit was basically a reminder of exactly why you thought they were the coolest thing on the planet. Of course, countless trends (many of which we can all agree to never speak of again) have come and gone since that time, but our love for labels has only toned down, not died.
I know it’s corny, I know it’s obnoxious, I know it’s more stylish to put together devastating looks without the help of designers and I know that it’s not what Bill Gates does (even though we really shouldn’t be modeling ourselves after rich white men), but the allure of showing off labels is undeniable. I’m not saying you should only wear pieces that have graced a runway, because you should definitely still create your own style. However, I am saying that if you should ever feel the occasional need to step out completely covered in your favorite designer and make sure everyone is aware of it, do not let anyone make you feel bad about it.
Be the zeitgeist.
A couple of weeks ago Beyonce was Lil Kim for Halloween, and it was everything. Bey recreated just a few of Kim’s iconic looks, but she had plenty to pick from. Lil Kim’s reign as Queen B has been marked by unforgettable looks; from the colorful “Crush on You” video looks, to the purple jumpsuit and pasty at the 1999 VMAs. It’s also no secret that Kim brought styles such as logomania and bright colored hair to the hip-hop community.
However, she isn’t the only hip-hop style icon. We can’t forget Andre 3000 who’s been pushing gender norms and giving uniquely stylish looks since the early 1990s. There’s also trendsetter, Missy Elliot; self-proclaimed pretty boy, A$AP Rocky and even the OGs, Salt-N-Pepa. All of these people brought their dynamic personal style onto the scene with them when they entered the spotlight.
These artists found their place in a long tradition of Black celebrities setting fashion trends for their peers in their respective industries as well as their fans. Another industry where this is common is sports, specifically the NBA. Interestingly enough, many style icons in sports find their fashion inspiration in hip-hop stars and vice-versa. This is a longstanding relationship between fashion, hip-hop, sports and the Black community.
This brings me to a question: “Who is taking on that legacy now?” One could argue that A$AP Rocky, Kanye and Rihanna are today’s hip-hop style icons, but that answer isn’t sufficient for me. A$AP Rocky is great, but he’s one person who represents one niche of hip-hop at a time when the genre is arguably more diverse than ever. Kanye simply isn’t a style icon anymore, you can look at any Yeezy runway and see what I mean. His “designs” have essentially become the material for Twitter jokes. Finally, there’s Rihanna. Rih is undoubtedly a style icon, but despite her feature on N.E.R.D.’s “Lemon,” she’s not a rapper, and I can’t count anyone who is hip-hop adjacent as a true hip-hop style icon.
This gross lack of someone to take the torch is dissatisfying, to say the least. The worst part is that a style icon is nothing more than someone who consistently dresses strangely and does it well, and I’m convinced plenty of today’s rappers could do that. Today’s rappers are weirdos, but for some reason, they’d rather wear jeans and a t-shirt or poorly curated head to toe designer than display that weirdness in their wardrobe. In an industry where everyone works so hard to prove that they’re different, no one really wants to be different anymore.
Fashion is a huge part of building a brand. There are plenty of past names in the hip-hop industry that are still identifiable by the fashion that was unique to them, but we don’t see that anymore. This lack of style makes artists forgettable and leaves fans like me bored. We all know that fashion needs hip-hop, but it seems that we’ve forgotten that hip-hop needs fashion.
Be the zeitgeist.