Tamsin Blanchard examines the power behind the label and how the emerging role of graphic designers has become key for a fashion labels success and credibility. Blanchard explains how the label has become its own form of currency because of the social and economic importance is holds. Nowadays, fashion brands have come to rely on packaging and presentation to determine its worth as oppose to the actual product. In the last 20 years, the graphic designers that are in charge of creating the labels and the presentation have created the ability to attach status and power to labels and fashion industries. Fashion is no longer just clothes; now the fashion industry has many sectors that contribute to the popularization of the label. These graphic designers create fashion show invitations, ad campaigns, “look books, catalogues, press mail-outs, magazines, etc”—all of these elements contribute to the message attached to the label.
Peter Saville is known for being the pioneer of fashion graphics. He collaborated with photographers like Nick Knight and produced work for designers like Yohji Yamamoto. Yohjis catalogue in 1986 was a groundbreaking innovation for the fashion world and kicked off the field of fashion graphics. In fashion graphics it’s a matter of presentation as oppose to the fashion itself. For example, some people like certain brands because of the message that is communicated through the presentation of the clothing.
Many designers have reestablished themselves simply by changing their ads and presentation of fashion (Stella McCartney, Burberry, etc). “A brand’s graphic identity is how it expresses itself, shows what it wants to belong to and talks to its customer with its chosen visual language. The graphic identity will be applied to everything that the brand uses so it is vital to find an expression that suits its values.”
Once a designer creates te=he product and determines a message they want to send, every form of that brands representation is formed around that identity: the logo, the lookbook, the colors, the models, everything.
YSL is seen to be the label to prove the power of the graphics the most through its elegant letters Y – S – L which are known worldwide regardless of whethere you own a piece of haute couture or not.
The first graphic designers are said to have worked in the music industry before the fashion industry.
“Fashion houses no matter how mainstream need ti keep a step ahead if they want to maintain their credibility”—essentially they have to be innovative but keep their elegance.
“At best, graphic designers have brought to the fashion industry another set of eyes, a fresh perspective and an uncompromising vision. At worst, they are simply another marketing tool.”
“If it looks good, don’t trust it.”
“Presentation is in danger of becoming everything.”