Starting Spring 2010, the veteran streetwear label Freshjive will be marketed and sold sans logo. Rick Klotz, founder and designer of Freshjive, says he has grown disillusioned with the business of branding. In this anti-branding campaign, all Freshjive products, website, and promotional materials will be stripped of company identifiers–leaving a blank slate.
Klotz elaborates In an interview over at The Hundreds:
…within the streetwear culture, the promotion of a company’s brand has become downright silly to me. What’s amusing is I still really enjoy designing gear, graphics, and even logos. But when I see kids wearing company logos it reminds of people who are trying to be a part of a “tribe” or “gang”, as if they need to be part of something, which seems to go against the idea of individualism in style.
Klotz compares the streetwear market to a popularity contest and adds:
It’s really invigorating to approach designing a line WITHOUT the constrictions of how the logo is gonna be placed or used on the garments.
Klotz will still design Freshjive logos, but only as stand-alone graphics in the T-shirt line. He ends the interview by issuing a warning to the “brand building community,” alluding to the prevasive appropriation or parody of iconic logos by streetwear labels (and by counterfeitors):
Careful when building an influential logo, as I just might use that influence through some further graphic manipulation, and throw it back out into the market like a brick bashing through a window.
I’m very intrigued by this experiment in non-branding. Will his line continue to sell?
By dropping the logo, I think Klotz elevates Freshjive above the logo-centric streetwear culture. I would argue that some streetwear designers are not “apparel designers” at all, but “graphic designers.”
It’s one thing to slap a logo on a multi-colored T-shirt, but it’s another thing to construct a cut&sew and then display your logo on it. That’s the blurry distinction I make between streetwear and fashion designers, and why I appreciate creativity in the latter a great deal more. I’m not here for brand names–I hunt for durable textiles and crazy/classic designs.