Posted by: glue | July 12, 2008


Expresion is for Being online (duende), anticipated by entrepreneurs. As Agamben once said of whatever, the way passes between pornography and advertising.

Brand duende

Brand duende

For example, we could learn from the look of American Apparel, the commodity version of Dov Charney’s mystory (observations gleaned from Jaime Wolf’s essay). The discovery of Hanes T-Shirts on vacation from polyester Canada, visiting relatives in cotton Florida set the motivating mnemonic (the dark precursor?). The popcycle of discourses are more legible than usual in what became the AA look, given his postmodern penchant for pastiche. The late 70s-early 80s ambiance approved as retro; the emulation of other classic iconic items of apparel; resonances with Jane Fonda or Hannah and her Sisters; learning genre of Benetton and Nan Goldin. But a bricolage integrating all these sources would be nothing without the infusion from Charney’s own persona, his own style, his sexuality, projected into the clothing line.

Not that the look is unique; on the contrary, it is a nuance, a variation on an existing hip or cool urban eroticism. The ethnic, diverse, bohemian, imperfections of the models express the designer’s sexual preference. The corporate line achieves a whole look, with the remotivation of the tighty whitey being to Charney what the little black dress was to Coco Chanel. And don’t forget the appeal of the politics (no sweatshops, made in America paying good wages), and the coup of being logo-free as its own mark.

Designers of corporate identities attempt to imagine a fictional Dov Charney whose disposition guides the look and feel relevant to their enterprize. Look and feel is not just for corporations, any more than writing could be only for pharoahs in literacy. What may be learned from Dov Charney about how to express my brandhood, which has nothing to do with entrepreneurship? It is another way of asking how my image may survive and persevere in an ocean of avatars.

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