HIGH END OBSCURITY
Let’s talk about two things that would probably be least likely to ever be talked about in the same vein, Kim Jong Un and Public Welfare. Sadly that’s a joke, but what we’re actually talking about is the combination of high end fashion and memes. A risky union to say the least but if done right could yield amazing results.
Gucci is a prime example of memes marrying luxury designs. In today’s world where a lot of companies use memes in their marketing to appeal to a broader audience, Gucci actually pulled it off. There are many cringeworthy efforts seen by companies of all kinds who use memes to market themselves, because it isn’t easy to strike the correct balance. However, if you actually go to Gucci’s website, a lot of the clothing on offer is absolutely bizarre and obscure. It’s as if they’re running a social experiment to see how far people will go before realising that just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it actually looks good.
If you look at Gucci 10-15 years ago, the style on offer was very classy, mostly plain sleek designs that shouted luxury without forcefully screaming it at your face. Nowadays it seems like people need you to know they’re wearing designer brands and that’s done by straying away from the herd as much as possible when it comes to design. If you think about it, designer brands now represent very much how memes work. Loud, in-your-face, a casual theme and more and more obscure as time goes by.
Another brand called Vetements functions on the same wavelength, similarly Balenciaga has also jumped on the trend and for a cool thousand dollars you can look fashionably ridiculous. The reason this is happening is because it works. These high end brands have a certain aspirational value attached to them and people want to feel like they’re a part of that giant collective. So now when they buy a luxurious expensive item they also want people to clearly know, that they’ve bought an expensive item. You wouldn’t really know if someone is wearing a LV shirt if it was plain with a small logo on the pocket,but you would definitely recognise it if the shirt is a bright green with a giant LV smattered all across the front. ( Actual design, available for 699$ ).
Clothing is a big part of who we are and the “ Hypebeast “ culture is being propagated more and more via rappers and online personalities. Lil Pump and 21 Savage, both constantly talking about Gucci and Saint Laurent in their songs, being loud and flashy, certainly has an effect on societal aspirations amongst their target audience. If you see everyone wearing something weird and expensive, it comes to a point where you start feeling left out because you’re actually dressed normally. Crazy as that sounds, in certain places in Japan it’s quite evident and the west is quickly adapting this meme-dressing culture.
The brand Supreme is literally just normal clothes with the logo slapped on top and people will happily pay hilarious prices just to feel like they belong. It’s just like memes, they keep getting more and more obscure and it’s always about who can relate to it.
Do you understand this meme or not? Are you part of this group or not? What these fashion brands have done is found a way to quantify that and are cashing in heavily. Now I’m not saying that everything on those websites is on the same level, fashion wise, some of it is quite normal and good looking, but what they’re slowly becoming is bizarre clothing with high price tags, and the higher the price tag, the more desired it becomes.
By Abhishek Aggarwal