Does Burberry's Gosha Rubchinskiy collab herald the return of the time-worn tartan?

Weekday wonderings

Text: Andrea Sim

Logomania has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years. Now, Gosha Rubchinskiy's collaboration with Burberry places their equivalent, the tartan, at its apex

It wasn't too long ago that repping Louis Vuitton or Gucci monogram had negative connotations. As recent as 2013, you'd be hard pressed to find a sophisticated 20 or 30-something who would be caught dead wearing the interlocking 'LV' or 'GG' logo.

We chalk up much of our disdain to the fact that a wide audience had adopted the prestigious fashion symbols as their personal monikers for wealth. The repurcussion of which was brand logos becoming the microcosm of undiscerning consumerism. And as such, to don branding explicitly was to be associated with insecurity and the almost pitiable need for approval from the affluent crowd. Unfortunately, more often than not, the backwatered behavior is accompanied by a lack of understanding of actual craft and provenence. For the judicious, it was tasteless. Vulgar even.

In 2017, logomania in the form of Louis Vuitton's Supreme collaboration and Gucci tees and hoodies represented something else entirely. It is cool again... but what's changed?

As brands mature, so do their ideals. That's certainly one way to look at it. Cynics might employ the word "hypocrisy", but such is the nature of art — its rules shift with time. Today, they embrace the idea of logo re-appropriation by "outsiders" who represent youth and street culture. Such alliances give the younger generation leeway to perceive their monograms with fresh eyes — altering their perceptions of what they stand for.

The element of the unexpected too, makes it more exciting. For instance, Louis Vuitton craftily borrowed Supreme's street cred and brand of cool, reviving the 'LV' logomania in the process. Gucci hit similar notes with multiple collabs, though not quite as epic in proportions in isolation. The in-house reissue of their 'GG' logo (tweaked and now known as GG Supreme) started the ball rolling, then the tie-ups with artists Gucci Ghost and Coco Capitan who "vandalised" bags, logo tees and hoodies sealed the deal. Most recently, their timely partnership to back the reopening of OG luxury logo appropriator, Dapper Dan, and his Harlem atelier, is the cherry on top of the cake. 

This too, seems to be the case with Burberry's Gosha Rubchinskiy collaboration. While it is the latter who initiatied the joint capsule by approaching the house, Rubchinskiy serves the role of the "unexpected, young outsider" casting new light on Burberry's time-worn tartan.

And it also so happens that its archaic, "trashy" rep is precisely his inspiration. Tapping on the spirit of the British 'chavs' who glommed onto the pattern as an ubiquitous status symbol in the '90s and '00s, Rubchinskiy is working off the very bedrock of his eponymous label's success. That is, the purveyance of a specific style of '90s normcore, be it decidedly or unwittingly, to incite just the right amount of irony and nostalgia. Just see the old school car coats, bucket hats, and head-to-toe tartan ensembles of his Burberry edit above.

At best, Gosha x Burberry could become the very influence discerning individuals who've steered clear of the pattern prior need to buy into it in 2018. At worst, it'll make for Internet memes and fodder for Buzzfeed. We're counting on the former.

Gosha x Burberry will be available at selected Burberry boutiques and Dover Street Market stores from 6 January 2018.


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