My childhood years took place, if you consider that to mean toddler to teenager, mostly in the nineteen eighties. This was a big time for logo shirts — I so badly wanted to have a polo style shirt with either the classic tiny little Polo Pony from Ralph Lauren or the Lacoste alligator or even the tiger from the Le Tigre line. What I loved about the shirt was that the bulk of the shirt was focused on the design of the shirt and it took being up close to the shirt to actually recognize the logo.
As I grew older I started to prefer other designer clothing that was completely free of any insignia from the designer. The only way that you could possibly know that it was a piece of clothing from that designer would be if you recognized the style of design — not because it was blaring out like obnoxious subway announcements.
All was well in the world of design, albeit we started to see a rise in brands like Abercrombie and Fitch as well as Hollister, which feels some need to scream out the existence of each article of its clothing with the brand name in the largest possible font that could possibly fit onto the clothing.
Then came The North Face which is increasingly a slap in my face on my daily commute. I see people wearing jackets made by The North Face and have to contend with their obnoxious logo not just on the breast pocket as would be standard for an article of clothing — there is also a logo on the back and one per sleeve. I would not be surprised if they took to the Louis Vuitton route and just plastered their logo all over their clothing.
Enter the scary Big Pony collection from Ralph Lauren. What was once a charming brand with wonderful designs descended into the obnoxious loudness of Hollister.
At first, when I saw the Big Pony, on someone’s shirt I thought it was surely a counterfeit shirt or perhaps a bootleg shirt made by someone in their basement, trying to make a fast buck off of the sad trend of shoving the name of your designer in everyone’s faces. It wasn’t until I was in Macy’s one afternoon and I saw the Big Pony staring up at me, almost with a smirk as though to tell me that it was real.
I hope that this trend does not continue because if it does we will find ourselves looking at nothing but pony with no design behind it. I am relieved that there are such brilliant designers out there like Betabrand which not only manufactures all of its clothing in the United States in its San Francisco factory but also makes fashionable clothing that does not broadcast its logo.