Hundreds of logos pass us by everyday. If we walk down a busy street and look down, we’ll see the Vans. We look up, we’ll see the New Eras. We look back, we’ll see the Lululemons.
Have you ever wondered why we choose to buy branded, when a similar product can be had for a fraction of the price? This has always been an interesting topic to me, so in this post, I’ll be de-constructing reasons of why we might wear what we wear. This post will be more of a simple observation than anything, and I’m sure I may be missing lots.
1. Media and Influence
We see Rapper A, Actor B, or Celebrity C wearing a nice outfit all pretty on TV, we might take notice and wonder how we ourselves would look in that outfit. Maybe we can look that pretty. Maybe even pull it off better than them. Not limited to celebrities and TV, but also athletes, magazines, even our friends. We see our friend rocking a sharp hoodie, we might become interested and look into the brand.
Though it may be true that cultures these days are shifting and blending, each demographic still, to a degree, stays true to their own roots. Skinny jeans, fitted tees, and leather jackets for the punkrock crowd. Baggy jeans, boxy tees, and flat-brimmed caps for the hiphop crowd. Nowadays, many modern brands aim to blend and bridge certain cultures. And when we find a brand that represents the cultures we’re involved in, it’s easy for us to fall in love with them. Personally, I’m huge into skate brands and skate-related brands. I’m an even bigger sucker for collabs.
I couldn’t tell you how many times I bought a t-shirt just because I loved the graphic so much. It’s like paying for art. Sort of. At some point, there was a designer perfecting every little angle of the design before it got slapped onto a shirt. If we like the design enough, we’ll pay for it. Simple as that.
4. Quality and Fit
I put quality and fit together because the two go hand-in-hand. Many brands use off-the-shelf generic t-shirts and stamp their designs on it. That’s completely fine, because those brands are built on their artwork, story, and authenticity. Tees like American Apparel are built on straight up quality, fit, and ethos. I have American Apparel t-shirts from two years ago that still fit like new today.
5. Story, Originality, and Exclusivity
This, to me, is the most interesting. Wearing a brand because of what they stand for. Let’s face it. When we wear a brand, especially pieces with sizeable logos, we’re pretty much walking billboards. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, I don’t mind advertising for them. I would proudly support the brand if I believe in their story, goals, and vision. For example, I love skateboarding, so I wear skate brands because I like the clothing they put out, I enjoy watching their skate videos, I attend events they put on, and so on. Yeah, the $40 tee I bought probably only cost the company $5, $10, $15 to make, but it’s not about that. It’s about community, support, culture, and appreciation.
Exclusivity? We want what other people don’t have — to an extent. Styles and trends change, and while we might want to be “with” the times, we also don’t want to be another clone. It’s a fine line, but the obvious general rule of thumb? Wear what you like.
It’s almost like joining an imaginary club when you wear branded gear. If I were walking downtown sporting a HUF tee and walk past Stranger Bob wearing a different HUF tee, right away, I could guess that I am at least somewhat on the same page as Stranger Bob when it comes to music, sports, and interests. As odd as it seems, that’s a good feeling, knowing you’re a part of this club that doesn’t exist.
It’s easy to say that clothing doesn’t define us. But in a way, it kind of does. I’m not saying we should judge a book by its cover, but that doesn’t mean that looking at the cover couldn’t give us an educated guess of what’s on the inside. What we wear is an extension of ourselves. It represents who we are.
Not everyone will understand why we paid $35, $50, even $100 for a t-shirt. And that’s okay. It’s not about the people who don’t get it. It’s about the people who do.
What are your reasons for wearing branded clothing?