Archive: October 2010

Argos to sell branded clothing

Retail giant Argos has announced that it wants to start selling branded clothing, however, the announcement has been met with a cool reception from the branded fashion sector.

Selling everything, from electrical items to furniture, Argos is the UK’s biggest general merchandise retailer and it is understood to be eyeing major fashion brands. Its hit list is expected to include streetwear brands, such as Gio-Goi and Ringspun.


It’s hip to be hated

Early this September, TheGrandSpectacular posted a video on YouTube called “Being a Dickhead’s Cool”, a song that brutally teases London’s poseurs and animates shots taken from the websites Hackney Hipster Hate and Look At This Fucking Hipster, among other sources. Since its upload on 8 September, the original clip has had around 3,275,000 views.

Responsible for several hundred of those views, I knew I wanted to write something on the Hipster culture but, as usual, I was beaten to it when the Guardian posted a brilliant article this week, “Why do people hate Hipsters?” The article looks at the history of this subculture, which they believe stems from the Do-It-Yourself culture of punk, how hipster has filtered to the mainstream and analyses the hipster as a consumer.


Designer creates spray-on clothes

A Spanish fashion designer has developed the world’s first spray-on clothing that can be worn, removed, washed and worn again.

Manel Torres joined with scientists at Imperial College London to invent the spray, which forms a seamless fabric on contact with the body. Torres took 15 minutes to spray a T-shirt onto a male model in a demonstration today, ahead of his spring/summer collection at the Science in Style fashion show in London next week.

The spray consists of short fibres that are mixed into a solvent, allowing it to be sprayed from a can or high-pressure spray gun. The fibres are mixed with polymers that bind them together to form a fabric. The texture of the fabric can be varied by using wool, linen or acrylic fibres.

The fabric, which dries when it meets the skin, is very cold when it is sprayed on, a limitation that may frustrate hopes for spray-on trousers and other garments.


Gap scraps logo redesign after social-media protests

Just days after defending the redesigned Gap logo, Marka Hensen, president of Gap Brand North America, has released a statement announcing the decision to scrap the new design.

The change, which was announced on their website on 4 Oct, prompted a public protest, with more than 2,000 comments on Facebook criticising the decision to ditch the well-known logo.


Exposed: voyeurism, surveillance and the camera

I’ve always harboured the idea that humans are voyeuristic creatures and that, in fact, voyeurism isn’t an abnormal, psychological disorder but basic human nature that we all experience to some degree. We like watching other human behaviour, this is proved by the popularity of programmes such as Big Brother, I’m A Celebrity and Laguna Beach during the last decade. However, beyond the contrived entertainment of “reality” television we’re really interested in the perverse, the freakish and the unacceptable.

For hundreds of years populations of socially “advanced” countries would gather to watch public executions, the romans built magnificent coliseums to watch men be attacked by wild animals and gladiator’s fight until death, human freak shows were popular until the early twentieth century. These aren’t the irrelevant people of the past; this would be us, now, if legalities and equality laws weren’t introduced and if it wasn’t considered “socially unacceptable”. Even the internet, arguably one of the greatest inventions of all time, is crammed full of porn to suit every fetish and perversion.

The other week I went to the Exposed exhibition at the Tate museum, which is subtitled “Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera”. It examines the various ways in which the camera has been used to act as the undetected eye spying on us, focusing on that part of photography which has concerned itself with the unacceptable: ogling, peeping and lying.


Gap’s new logo

As a universal truth, we don’t like change. As much as we strive towards spontaneity, we’re creatures of habit and the smallest tweak can cause out and out commotion and backlash. Take, for example, the negative reactions brought on by recent announcements of Tropicana’s tweaked logo, the formula change of New Coke and the changed Gap logo.

As customers and consumers we’re marketed to believe that we own a brand; it’s a lifestyle, it’s a heritage and we make the changes. So when Gap released the redesigned logo on its website on 4 Oct and decided to change their iconic blue-square logo, which has been emblazoned on shirts, jeans and bags for more than two decades, customers took to social-media sites to express their displeasure.

“Why mess with a classic?” wrote one Facebooker. “‘It looks like clipart”, wrote another.  “The original Gap logo is classic and iconic,” said Eric Mai, a 24-year-old Facebook user, “by changing it, you’ve completely destroyed what it took 20-plus years to build.” While over on Twitter, a debate ensued over whether it was a hoax or a viral publicity stunt. There’s so much cyber chatter about Gap’s new logo it even has its own Twitter page.

The consumer-focused site is offering a $50 iTunes gift card to whoever can come up with the funniest caption to accompany the retailer’s new image. More than 150 comments have been left, suggestions including, “Gap’s new branding inspiration: PowerPoint ‘97,” “Gap: Failing to think outside the box since 1969” and “Helvetica: it was working for American Apparel.”

The company issued a statement on its Facebook page yesterday, saying they were “thrilled to see the passionate debates unfolding” and welcomed design suggestions, calling it a “crowd-sourcing project”.

However, Gap’s North American president Marka Hansen has defended the US casualwear chain’s controversial new logo and told Draper’s she wanted customers to “take notice” of the chain and “see what it stands for today”.

Louise Callagy, a spokeswoman for the company, said that Gap has been updating its clothing lines and stores to appeal to so-called “Millennials” (consumers in their 20s and early 30s) and the new logo is part of that plan.

“If you’ve been watching Gap over the past year, our customers have seen how we’ve been evolving our brand identity,” she said. “Our brand and clothes are changing, so we want our logo to reflect that change.”