Walking Billboards: The Brandwhore Print

With the release of the newest Innocent World print, there has been a little bit of commotion about something that pops up every few years or so within the Lolita community. That something is blatant advertisement on clothes, aka:
Ever since Lolita really got really big, sometime around the early to mid 2000's, prints that feature the name of the brand emblazoned across the front of their dresses has become pretty routine. The major print-releasing brands tend to release something every year or two that features their name a little larger and more attention grabbing than usual. Every custom print will feature the name of the brand in it somewhere, either nestled discreetly somewhere within the print, or integrated in a way that makes it seem like a natural part of it, especially since texts on prints in Lolita are very common, it's just the nature of branding and lets you know this is their unique design, and barring counterfeits, you're not going to be able to find it anywhere else. This isn't really a big deal for most people, but when the name gets a little too prominent, this tends to bunch a few bloomers.

 
Some of the many prints that have featured the brand's name in a place of prominence.

There are a lot of people who are very adamant about not being a walking billboard for a brand, no matter how much they enjoy the brand. It's the idea of "free advertisement" that really puts them off in most cases. I can get behind that idea in some cases. For example, I'm not going to want to walk around advertising a business that I know nothing about other than that they give out free tee shirts, or a brand of clothing that I don't care about and I'm just wearing to not be naked.

However, when it comes to brands I love, who do it creatively, I don't really see a problem with it. I see these brand's "billboard" prints as just as much of a piece of art as any other piece they might release. They feature gorgeous designs and creative art that I enjoy. I see a world of difference between this and a plain tee shirt with the name of brand printed across the front of it. Take the brand name off of a Lolita dress, and you still have an elaborately designed and decorated dress, take the brand name off of a tee shirt, and you just have a plain tee shirt. I genuinely enjoy these brands, and if anyone was interested, I would be more than happy to explain exactly where they came from and how they could get one for themselves!

I honestly have no idea if these brands are still what people wear.

There's also part of me that is still excited every time I get a piece from a brand I like, even if it's just a branded accessory. Practically no one who sees me carry it around in my day-to-day life is going to know what my tote with "Metamorphose" printed across it even means, but it pleases me to have such an iconic piece to carry around with me, and when it comes to Lolita, that's really what matters most.

I also must admit to being a bit charmed by the very names of Lolita brands, from the silly Angelic Pretty, to the secretly deviant Juliette et Justine, to the mysterious Metamorphose, to the often misspelled and somewhat incomprehensible Baby, the Stars Shine Bright. I personally get a kick at having these words and phrases, that tend to be a complete mystery to outsiders, in fancy script emblazoned across my clothes. It's almost like a secret language, or a call to any other Lolitas who might be out there in their mundane disguises. While everyone knows exactly what a shirt with the word NIKE printed across it means ("I bought this shirt at a shoe store."), only fellow Lolitas are going to know what a cupcake proclaiming "Angelic Pretty" means.

It's something I love, and something I don't have a problem with giving free advertisement to. If I didn't like it, I would have plenty of other options for things to wear, even among Lolita clothes. To fellow Lolitas, individual brand's clothes are often so unmistakable that even if the dress doesn't have the name of the brand in the print, we would know anyways. I see these pieces as the brand's artistic signature across their catalog as a whole.

What are your thoughts on these sorts of prints, or even brand's names on prints in general? Love them or loathe them? Just proclaiming your proud love of a brand, or do you feel like you're being used as a walking billboard?

19 comments:

  1. Face it folks, we like people thinking, "Ewww...she's wearing (insert brand name
    here)." I do! lol

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  2. I have to say that I love a lot of the accessories with the brand names printed on them a lot too! I have a ribbon ring from Baby, the Stars Shine Bright, and of course the name is printed across a part of the ring in plain sight. It is just so much more endearing when I show people the ring and they read that, because brand name aside, it sounds like a really cute phrase that could mean a lot to some people! I know I actually really love the band and the song the brand was named for, so that's a double positive for me. =)

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  3. Sometimes I'm joking around: "When I buy a f*cki*g expensive dress, I want that everybody know that it was expensive!" xD But honestly, I think especially in Lolita fashion it doesn't matter because the market of clothes is pretty small, so if someone wears brand items you can see it from far away because you know how brand looks like and how 'off-brand' looks.

    I think for 'normal' brands like Adidas, Lacoste, Gucci etc. people wear clothes with a big brand name printed on as a status symbol, but since in Lolita fashion the main part is brand anyway, there is not really.... 'need'(?) for it since most people wear brand anyway. I think status in Lolita fashion is defined over the amount of dresses you own or whatever.

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  4. Honestly, I really like the way the brand names are written, especially the Meta one. I think people just like to complain :P

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  5. Oh God, I totally agree with you, I just don't get the hate on "brand marks", especially when they're almost always neatly incorporated into overall design or are an ornament on their own.

    But that's probably because I adore brand's (and print's too!) names, my favourite being of course the ambigious and engrishy "Baby, the stars shine bright".

    Plus yeah, I does feel a little like wearing an unknown symbol of a secret club :D

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  6. I don't really have an opinion... I think people should do as they please... personally I wouldn't wear a dress that shouts hey, I'm from... and i'm expensive... look at me... look at me... but Hey, some girls love this and so... they will wear it :) and that's there right!

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  7. I couldn't agree with you more!

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  8. I totally agree about it in the prints on dresses versus t-shirts but I am definitely picky about it.

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  9. Moon Night Theatre is my favourite Angelic Pretty print. Just saying.

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    1. I honestly always forget that's a "brandwhore" print! Despite the fact that the dress is literally covered in text, it's such a part of the all-over design that I forget that it says Angelic Pretty on it!

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  10. I'm a big fan of typography, and brand prints with giant names of course feature a lot of text, so I really don't mind it. I love Meta's Telephone print and Innocent World's new print too!

    Plus, I think that it's actually less ostentatious to feature brand names on prints in lolita than other clothes. After all, so many brands prints and styles are recognizable from afar to most lolitas anyway, it's not going to be much different than having the name all over.

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  11. I don't mind it! As long as there isn't too much of the brand name on the dress, for example I love the Angelic Pretty dresses with the brand name in a corner under a emblem or picture.
    If I get an Angelic Pretty or Baby, the Stars Shine Bright, i'd be proud to wear it even if it had the name printed on it - I'm proud to wear brand ♥

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  12. interesting topic. I´m going to just repeat what you´ve said, but yeah, I always hated the idea of being as free marketing to brands (actually paying to be a marketing for them) when using products with logos. but then with lolita I just don´t mind at all, most people that will see don´t have a clue what "juliette et justine" stands for and most lolita don´t have to see the logo to figure out wich brand it came from.

    the only brand name/symbol I feel attracted to is vivienne westwood (and maybe anna sui), because it means more to me than "nike". also, the products are usually more stylish than just a tee with a logo as you mentioned.

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  13. I love typography, so most of the time I love these prints. The only one I will NEVER buy is moitié : "Moi Même Moitié" souds so SO stupid in french... (as you probably know, someting like "myself half" or "me same half") One of the reasons I can't take this brand seriously... (that's sad because I like some of their designs)

    thank you for your blog, I really enjoy it :)
    (excuse my english ;) )

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  14. I don't like there being words on my clothes - words are supposed to be read, reading what is on my clothes is distracting! I don't even tend to wear particularly bold patterns or prints (I am into Aristocrat styles and Romantic Goth as well as Gothic Lolita). So, from an aesthetic point of view, I don't like these sorts of prints.

    I also don't want to be used as free advertising space, or want to show off where my clothes have come from. It's clothes, most specifically-Lolita clothes are from a brand, anyway, and most Lolitas know the brands well enough to recognise brands, off-brands and even to tell replicas apart from real versions quite easily, so there's no point in putting the logos and names all over something.

    I wear a lot of off-brand things and things I have made or modified myself, and don't really care about whether or not something is brand or not as long as it is pretty, and I think these brand prints are part of the whole "brands are better because they are brands!" thinking which is silly when there are off-brand things that are really pretty and sometimes prettier than brand things. I have nothing against the brands, either, they produce some really nice things, it's just I think that the prettiness and quality of the garment is the important thing, not whether or not it is from a brand.

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  15. can i ask how "Juliette and Justine" is really something deviant? XD They're on of my favorite brands, and I'd like to know what it means!

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    1. It's a reference to a couple infamous Marquis de Sade books! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marquis_de_Sade

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  16. I think judging by the print of the dress other lolita already know which brand one is wearing.

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  17. Since I don't care for most brand clothes (too common), and I don't like to see the brand name emblazoned boldly on clothes (I do think it's like being a billboard), I'm not a fan. Also, I don't like the idea of being thought of as a brandwhore if I wore brand simply because I got it because I liked it and I can afford it. I've seen Lolita obsess over getting a brand because it's brand and it seems kind of silly.

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