Birgit Richard
Logo-mania and brand-hopping. Strategies of reduction and conservation of the ephemeral


Variety without substance? Tendencies in youth fashion

It is becoming increasingly difficult for the adult or post-adolescent observer to find adolescent styles, in a rapidly changing world of fashion, that are uniformly designed. Since the end of the 80s, we therefore talk about an inflation of styles. In youth cultures, all stylistic means are released by Punk, analogous to Dada in the fine arts. It creates a tabula rasa for the future utilization of stylistic elements and crosses all borders which hitherto existed in the field of youth cultures. The climax of this utilization is reached in the post-Punk-era, when the discovery of this style makes the accessories available in department stores with only a minimum of delay. A loss of substance on the level of content leads to a loss of parts of the identity-shaping power of quite a number of the new styles. However, only rapid change provides the chance of dissociation from the adult world. The interlocking of styles makes it more difficult to assign particular categories and, therefore, to merchandise individual styles. Youth cultures have since been permanently running from market mechanisms getting a grip on the style increasingly fast and becoming ever more subtle and from the transformation of their stylistic elements into an "adult" form, which serves the purpose of preserving the imaginary image of a youthful appearance.
Under similar aspects the disappearance of stylistic extremes has to be taken note of. They enable the observer to detect and assign Punk extremely fast. The process of dissociation of adolescents today can be observed in small stylistic, but no less meaningful deviations. With some delay, analogous to the fine arts, the inefficiency of avantgarde strategies of shocking and provocation, later inherited by the Haute Couture in the 90s, is shown. The exhibits of the exhibition "Avantgarderobe" (Hayward Gallery London, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg) allow us to follow the development of these spectacular, almost purposeless forms having ended up in the Haute Couture, e.g. Comme des Garcons, during the course of the century.
For contemporary youth cultures a policy of differences, of small differences, is decisive. We should oppose researchers studying youth cultures and journalists (Sommer/Wind 1988, p. 136 and Türcke 1999, p.3) who diagnose an arbitrary aestheticism and eclecticism in the incoming postmodern era and proclaim the result that clothes no longer convey a meaning. This approach shows the hysteria of adults, supported by the media, who, in contrast to the adolescents, can no longer find an organizing pattern in the confusion of styles.
Punk is the youth culture that initiates the development of today's variety of styles. From this point on, there is no longer any predominating youth culture like there was in the 50s, 60 and even in the 70s, but a simultaneous pluralism of styles. Punk turns the counterpart of youth cultures to the collage, the bricolage, by the combination of set pieces of the most important post-war youth cultures with profane items of ordinary life, appearing here as segments of styles of a new quality, into a new extreme manifestation. The chronological order of youth cultures is muddled up.
Older styles like Punk, Gothic, Skinheads or Heavy Metal have today become fixed classic youth- and adolescent cultures, which have a permanent place in the spectrum of styles. Variants on styles in these sytems have developed: "Gothic Punks" or "Grufties" (the German term), Skater-Punks, Surf-Punks or Wavers. In addition, the number of designations for stylistic variants of core areas of youth cultures has increased out of proportion: at the beginning of the 90s we find, among others, Rave from Manchester, a new psychedelic movement; the Crusties as a form of music of the New Age Travellers, and the Grunge. At the end of the 80s there are the New Beat, Electronic Body Music, and in the mid-80s HipHop and the US House scene. In the 90s we detect an increase of popular movements of dance music in particular: Acid House, House, Techno, Ambient, Hardtrance, Breakbeats, Gabber Techno, Drum+Bass, Triphop, Bigbeat, Ragga, Downtempo, Illbient, to call to mind just a few. Among these musical organizing terms no longer all of them have counterparts in an independent image of the style and fashion elements, which can be directly assigned.

Style-loops: time-loops in fashion

The 80s and 90s are characterized by an appearance of styles of revival. There is now the opportunity to live an historical style of youth culture as an aesthetic quotation. Punk reanimates the styles of the 50s, Teds or Rockabillies. At the end of the 80s, the 60s (Sixties, Neo-Hippies) are reanimated and at the beginning of the 90s there is a revival of styles of the 70s and Neo-Punk. The contemporary revival of the 80s, which can be observed at the end of the 90s, creates a revival-loop: Punk already is a combination of revival-elements of the 50s and contemporary attributes of fashion, so that now a dual time-loop is created.
Three forms of recollection can be found among contemporary youth cultures: Retro-, Old School and Revival. We have to differentiate between a transformation of stylistic elements and a reanimation of an historical atmosphere that does not take the contents of the historical style into consideration and does not reactivate it either.
Retro is the imitation of elements or complete sets of clothing of centuries past, a nostalgic looking back on times past. Revival already etymologically comprises the dimension of updating. Style and stylistic features are not supposed to be preserved, but are open for change. A vivid revival takes place when contemporary tailoring patterns are combined with original fabrics, or vice versa.
In contrast to the modelling of the past mentioned above, the so-called Old-School-phenomenon, first appearing with HipHop as well as Techno, shows a completely new form of self-referential recollection: reverting to the original forms gone now becomes an internal process of the style and demonstrates the possibility of an autopoiesis of sytems of youth cultures. This preservation of old elements of the style and their uncalculable revitalization outstrips and eludes economic exploitation and selectively creates an autonomous economic cycle between scene-boutique and flee-market.

Consumer-guerilla and "adbusting"

The history of the youth cultures in the post-war period starts with the development of youth-specific commercial structures. "Teenager" is the target-group of new consumer goods, tailor-made for their hedonistic needs. Basically, any youth culture is since determinded by a certain kind of participation in consumer society, as is demonstrated by Hebdige in his analyses, which are supported by Willis' concept of the profane or common culture.
Youth cultures predominantly are consumer communities, which create important stylistic elements by making a fetish of particular goods (Willis 1991, p. 162). The profane goods do not primarily get their meaning from their representationalism, but from a selection during the act of consumption and the subsequent symbolic transformation of the raw material commercially available, which muddles up the ordinary regular order of goods and the business cycle. Adolescents, by their deliberate misuse (cf. Diedrichsen 1994 "das komische Geräusch <"the funny noise">), create new stylistic elements in music and fashion. These first have to be recognized as being essential. Then it is taken up as an existing trend by the cultural industry, which processes it for a mass-consumption as expansive as possible. At this moment, a scene draws the line between authenticity and commercial plagiarism.
The material products of youth cultures implement structures of communication of a new quality into the landscape of consumption. For example, the respective scene-shops are no anonymous temples of consumption, but have the whole cosmos of the style on offer. Where you buy your records, there often is a DJ, putting records on. In comparison with the huge superstores for consumer electronics, the record-shops of the scene rather resemble a corner-shop and serve the purpose of listening to music, exchanging information and, of course, selling goods.
The youth cultures of the 90s necessitate a new definition of the relationship between authenticity and commercialism. However, it is not sufficient to say goodbye to the term "subculture" that stands for criticism of consumption, as it is done by Baacke/Ferchhoff (1994, p. 181 ff.) or Türck (1999). Genesis and commercial spreading of youth- and subculture are no longer linked in an hierarchical, multi-stage cycle of development, being taken over, manipulation and end of the style (Hebdige 1981). The coexistence of subversion and commercialism is predominantly caused by the rapidly fast spreading and the instantaneous development of variants of styles.
Techno-culture and HipHop scene represent examples of a new structuring: for the first time in the history of youth cultures, they demonstrate a simultaneity of avantgarde underground and broad mainstream parts.
Furthermore, a large part of the youth cultures in the 90s does no longer evade commercial pressure, but uses brands and signets as stylistic elements for working on and with symbolism(Willis 1991, p. 23). The adolescents of the 90s apply the new strategy of a "consumer-guerilla" (Jules Marshall), a free playing around with various brands. The overemphasis on consumption, hyper-consumption, is a different form of dealing with society. Three different forms of handling consumer goods can be detected in contemporary youth cultures:
1. Hyper-consumption by adolescents is a mirror-image of a society with a fixation about consumption. If we assume that adolescent styles always reflect certain dark sides of a society, they are the reflection, carried to extremes, of a parental generation lusting after consumption and, for example, voluntarily submitting to social constraints forcing them to buy a new luxury car every two years. It is a symbol for an over-individualization triggered by the market-economy, a power of the segments of the market.
2. Hyper-consumption serves the purpose of a defiant strategy of dissociation from those parts of the parental generation which try to live more consciously and closer to nature and to waste no resources. With unquestioned excessive consumption adolescents are able to disconcert even liberal and understanding parents.
3. Hyper-consumption becomes a targeted subversive act at a moment, when the scene and the designers of the scene playfully appropriate signets of others and are sued by companies like Shell or Telekom. Owing to the opportunities offered by modern lay-out programmes, this re-design is unproblematic. This so-called "adbusting" points to the fact, that the cultural industry has secured the rights to putatively public symbols and emblems. Strategies like "adbusting" are directed against the generation which tries to cast in concrete its ideals of a protest movement. They oppose a culture of discourse verbally orientated.
The descriptions above referred to the fact, that the traditional confrontation of youth cultures with the cultural industry is a thing of the past. However, this does not mean that they live in unison with contemporary social formations. The openly shown opposition to a world of consumption no longer can be found among a large part of youth cultures, since it is pointless to try to escape from commercial demands on these scenes and from trendscouts of industry. None of the existing youth cultures is still a protest culture critical of consumption, like they were found in the 60s and are still taken as a benchmark. Since styles always react to a particular time, other ways of handling consumer goods have developed. A targeted consideration with the means of an immanent analysis of the aesthetics of contemporary youth fashions will also reveal an (unconscious) social content.
Talking about the disappearance of independent youth cultures consciously overlooks the temporary autonomous zones, which have developed, for example, by the reappearance of vinyl-records in the Techno-, House- and HipHop scene, the foundation of small record-labels and self-operated record shops, the production of collections of clothes for the scene and the use of data-standards for music like MP3. Aesthetics, music and dance-style continually selectively create niches for adolescent strategies of dissociation. Regardless of the negative moulding of the symbolic raw materials for the development of the styles by the consumer industry, in the 90s characterized by the immediate adaption of ideas of the scene, it should not be forgotten that it becomes increasingly important that the market-segments should be defined from the perspective of the consumer. Especially in regard to clothing a sense for the needs and demands of a scene is essential. The "adidas old school"-trend, which suddenly reanimated old synthetics-track-suits of the 70s and was passed on to the Ravers, after the track-suits had been retrieved from wardrobes of the parents and from flee-markets by the HipHop scene, could not have been predicted by any marketing-strategist.
A forgotten element of orinary culture is discovered by the adolescents, gets a symbolic meaning and becomes an important stylistic element. The stylistic segment therfore develops within the youth culture itself. Only then, manufacturers of sports-items can pursue a follow-up by, for example, offering the old sports-shoe design from the 70s as a re-edition.

Hysterical production

Youth cultures face a harsher economic practice of fashion consumption, production and marketing with an ever decreasing half-life of representationalism. The short periods of production permit an immediate reaction to detectable trends. Especially in the field of clubwear and streetwear the seasonal four-stage process and a long period of preliminary planning can be done away with. Aided by computers, even small businesses are able to produce in production-cycles of 6-8 weeks.
The hardware- and software options of the computer are used for the production of designs, imprints, logos, labels, tailoring-patterns and for the development of fabrics and fibres. Computer technologies lead to a mass-production of aesthetic variants and to the fast changeability of designs. An ever increasing individualization in society requires production for small market-segments and according to customer feedback. A good example is the Swedish textiles-chain H+M, where the data of the scanning till and colour and shape of the article bought are fed directly into the new production process. Here, consumption and production are brought into line, a closed circuit of the business cycle.
The digitalization and individualization of fashion leads to a meta-static variety of colours, symbols, shapes and unusual high-tech fabrics, which requires an ever increasing competence of selection of the consumer. The confusion of the complete range of fashion on offer turns the brand into a point of reference. Even with items of the scenes of youth cultures the surplus is so great, that the scenes themselves lose track. To create a cult-brand of clothing and to be able to preserve it becomes increasingly difficult. This also applies to items of clothing which two decades ago were represented with one model per brand and were almost never subject to a change in fashion: gym-shoes. Besides a wide varietal range of forms of "sneakers," the market is determinded by permanently changing collections and regionally differing models.
The permanent change and the loss of orientation among the variety of product-variants is counteracted by classic products, e.g. the Levis 501 among jeans. However, these also lose their function as points of reference, when adolescent consumers prefer new forms of multi-functional work-pants. The so-called chino- or cargopants have outstripped the classic pair of jeans. Levis reacts with new models like the creased Levis Sta Prest.
The permanent making a fetish of representationalism, the continous transfer of objects into cult-objects, leads to the pulping of the cult and to the privatization of the symbols. A devaluation takes place, from the cult of the profane to the cult of the mass-fetish, easily replaceable.
In the field of clubwear and streetwear, even a half-life of brands of half a year or a year is rather short. Therefore, fashion-clothing are increasingly detached from contexts of a particular stylistic set. The devaluation makes stylistic elements nomadic. In a short time they wander from youth culture to youth culture, after having been brought on the market. Nevertheless, the starting-point of stylistic elements determined by brands can always be detected, since the brand represents a network of meanings which has to suit the style or otherwise it calls for a different design.

Brand-label-logo

The visual manifestation of the brand in the so-called logo determines the design of the whole item of clothing, which, as a paraphrase of the brand, becomes an icon and therefore a carrier of information contained in images. The representation of the self increasingly focusses on labeled and iconized surfaces. The transfer of graffiti-strokes from "driving walls" on subway-trains onto clothes is an outstanding example. The strokes do not show any legible writings, but a pure picture. The imprint as a means of surface-design renders the cut as a form of shaping depth unimportant. Veiling and unveiling of the body are a kind of self-wrapping. Just as on the surfaces of products, character-branding takes place (e.g. comic strip heroes on food-packaging, see Wippermann 1995).
The neutral standard-forms of items of clothing, the so-called basics (T-shirts, sweat-shirts), can be used as carriers or a matrix for picture- or written information. Their smooth surfaces show no disturbing elements like buttons.
The visual variations of the brand and the labels on the inside and outside of clothes become the dominating feature of design, determined by graphical design.in the mid-90s, and alongside the back and front of clothes, the sleeves get imprints as well. Clothes get painted and labeled and become an "all over painting," analogous to tatoos which also cover the whole body.
As late as the 70s, it is rare to find an item of clothing characterized by a visible trademark, imprints or embroidering. A preliminary stage are do-it-yourself letters to iron on. Only in the 80s do we see the T-shirt-print. In youth cultures, it first appears in the form of fan- or tour T-shirts. These show the admired stars and are exclusively available at concerts. Labeling, characters, cartoon characters, faces of rock stars or their logos become important set pieces of design.
The surface makes the self-assignment of the individual fairly easy, since it can be expressed rather explicitly by strokes or images. However, it requires an increasing competence of differentiation in the observer. In the contemporary youth cultures, the deciphering and assignment of the visual emblems alone lead to expertise and the status of an insider. The design of the surface has to be divided into the brand and its visualization, the brandmark or logo, and the label. The latter today requires its own line of design, label design, since the inside of clothes and the signs attached become surfaces for articulation as well. While the labels placed in the inside of clothes are supposed to serve the security aspect and shall avoid plagiarism and faking and lead to extremely complex systems comparable to bank notes (e.g. Diesel jeans are numbered), the outer label is a surface for communication additionally attached. Therefore, this form of labeling simultaneously serves the purposes of security and recognition. Especially in the 90s, we observe a logo-overkill, when all possible places in and on the clothes and all separate parts like buttons, zippers and capes bear a brandmark.
A logo is partially a self-referential phenomenon, entirely serving a corporate identity. It condenses the meaning of the brand and the company producing it and owes its existence to its visual stimulus. The function of the logo is representation, not discussion. However, only at first glance does the logo function as an unambigous significat-significant-chain. Here, it is essential that the visual variation of the brand lets the brand's distinctive features remain visible; the design should not change the brand in a way that might make it unrecognizable. Behind any logo in youth cultures we find a secondary complex reference-system, which requires an examination of the style to be able to assign it correctly. There rarely are "mono"-logos; companies either alter their brandmarks or there are various basic visual designs in the first place, which get varied (an example is the brand Stüssy, which uses two different strokes, or Homeboy). The creation of variants on styles of youth cultures does also lead to a creation of variants on brands in so-called "sub-labels" to be able to reach the greatest number of styles with one brand, but also to offer each individual style its own visual manifestation.
However, sub-labels and small segments of the market are much sooner forgotten than monolithically constructed brands.

Archaeology of the nomadic: transitoriness

Youth cultures have developed a special sytem of dealing with the transitoriness of their stylistic elements by feeding them back into the business cycle. This protects youth fashion from final decay and reduces the business cycle of fashion to a bearable and clear term. It is also the attempt to circumvent the commercial standard-terms of the business cycle for elements of fashion. Youth fashions both accelerate and slow down the business cycle for fashion. The half-life of fashion vanishes with the interconnection with digital media. It decreases corresponding to the half-life of computer systems and software solutions. The reproducibility and creation of variants by pressing a button contradicts a potential perpetuity of a product. It is replaced sooner, has a shorter life-span, but there is a certain probability that it will re-enter the system.
An adult strategy to deal with the transitoriness of the individual is to let the exterior, the clothing, grow older instead of the individual itself. At the surface, clothes appear increasingly older, the human body increasingly younger. Pre-aged or pre-used clothes have the function of providing relief and offer a projection surface for the processes of ageing and dying. The stage-managed used character suggests being alive by hinting at an individual history and infinity, qualities missing in items of clothes. In a magic ritual, the liberation of the body from the process of ageing takes place in the symbolic act of getting dressed, transferring transitoriness to a simulated process of ageing on the exterior. In the end, the exterior is more alive, more active and more intelligent than those who wear it. The individual gets choked, so to speak, by its young exterior, feigning age.
Fashion photography represents another facet of this tendency with Heroin Death and Handicapped Chic. It demonstrates that it is better to have an arificial exterior take over the role of director, as, for example, in the photographs of Ines von Lamsweerde, by offering insights into the depth of the corporeal which has not been technologically arranged and digitally processed. It opens up the exterior of pretension, tears the smooth surfaces and reveals embarassing, "puny," anorexic bodies, which no one really wants to see the way they are shown. There is only one solution to overcome the pure horror of the misshapen body: a suitable brand of clothes.
Disabilities and physical deficiencies bear witness to the generally damaged corporeal, additionally ennobled by clothes. The frailness of the body becomes visible by contrasting it with the perpetuity of the brand. Labeling the brand on bodies, e.g. Versace on Kristen McMenamy's body, relies on the transcendency of the brand's name. For the unsecure, adolescent bodies it is an opportunity to follow this putatively safe way by labeling brands on their bodies. In general, the fixation about a robust brand in youth cultures has other motivations as well. Here, print-campaigns for youth-specific products stress the perpetuity and infinity of particular brands and fabrics. The product and the brand survive the individual (Eastpak or Doc Martens advertising), which long since has become a victim of circumstances. The durability of the brand is stage-managed to emphasize the inferiority and frailness of the human body against the background of the fabrics produced by humans. These print-campaigns are tailor-made for adolescents, since these have not yet become a victim of the panic-stricken fear of ageing and death. They trust their own body in combination with a product offering security beyond death. The extreme durability of the items represents the chance to live an extreme life-style in using them; carried to its extremes with the motto "live fast, die young." The durability of the material also qualifies the object as a solid stylistic element.
The fashion of youth cultures is per se directed towards a perpetuity of its stylistic elements, since these serve the consolidation of the style. The discarded stylistic elements then circulate in the basic equipment storage room of the cosmos of youth cultures and await their rediscovery.
"Style isn't trendy. Quite the opposite. It is conservative and traditional...all (forms of body decoration, the author) serve to resist change." (Polhemus 1994, p. 13) This statement by Polhemus is a justification for the efforts to collect and organize the "trivial" world of objects of youth cultures.

Archaeology of the nomadic: archiving

Even though it seems absurd, the efforts to preserve ephemeral fashion, especially by styles of youth culture which exert a great influence on the media, design, fashion and the arts of society as a whole, are no futile or pointless endeavour. A small, exemplary part of the cultural history of ordinary life is thus recorded. Theoretics of art- and design theory/education do not spend a lot of attention to this, although it puts at their disposal essential explanatory patterns for the genesis of contemporary forms (cf. Richard1990). A collection serves the reconstructing, archaeological examination of alien cultures within one's own and tries to comprehend and appreciate cultural practices of youth cultures. The alien area within one's own culture is not assimilated, but its fashion and aesthetics are perceived as meaningful phenomena, bearing witness to the creativity of adolescents in handling consumer goods.
The collection of fashion puts the part of ordinary culture, which plays an important role for children and adolescents, at the observer's disposal. On the basis of having concrete material ready, an immanent analysis of the design of fashion and products can be pursued and social references can be filtered out. The results gained are then disseminated via the medium Techno-Kit, the archive and later via a virtual counterpart on the internet.
The interaction between the social systems aesthetics of ordinary life, arts and design should be observed to increase our ability to find out, whether there is an aesthetic expansion of forms of communication in youth cultures and how these might penetrate other systems and get transformed there. The interaction between systems of fashion demonstrates, that unconditional excitement about or the fervent hope for youth cultures changing society in a major way are as unsuitable as the prejudice that these are herds shepherded and steered by the cultural industry.
The collection of objects of various youth cultures is a conflicting process, as it shows that a closed stylistic image is a construct. Styles of youth cultures are processes with meaningful selective accumulations of objects and a phase of relatively closed autopoetic reproduction of the stylistic elements of communication. This is the starting-point of the material Jugendkultur-Archiv in Frankfurt, which was launched by myself. It collects youth fashions (Punk, Gothic Punk, HipHop, Disco, Techno, House, Drum+Bass, Ambient, TripHop, Acid, Hardtrance, Gabber, BigBeat...) and -objects like magazines and flyers and attempts to preserve a segment of the world of products of adolescents, especially of what in the 90s is called clubwear and streetwear.
With the help of the artificial intervention of an archive, which freezes the ephemeral, we can demonstrate, that all elements of the cosmos of youth cultures are of a nomadic nature and continually at the disposal of the internal communication. They can always be re-infused into the cycle of stylistic elements by medial processes like zapping, switching, surfing, i.e. the non-linear combination of images and objects. Thereby, the special usage of media by youth cultures and their public relations activities are taken into consideration as well.
The archiving of these objects has to follow the "flow" of things, which means, it has to be continuously in motion. Thus, the ideal extension of an archive dealing with youth fashions is its virtual counterpart on the internet. The material, "having at hand" basis, however, remains essential for the analysis of design-forms of youth cultures. The virtual "Jugendkulturarchiv" also picks out the role of the media in geographical transfer-processes of styles, e.g. between the USA and Europe. Today's styles in Europe are a manifestation of a western affluent culture and its handling of consumer goods. The fact, that style re-interprets stigmas developing in a context of poverty and repression into symbols of a positive identity and therefore, after the geographical transfer, conveys connotations like autonomy, is neglected by the standardized complaint about the loss of substance and the faith in brands of contemporary youth cultures. The expectation in regard to stylistic principles of youth cultures thus reads: the contemporary youth cultures shall realize a particular attitude supposed to be authentic. For earlier generations, authenticity does only come along with poverty and ghetto or physical or verbal rebellion. This paradoxical demand overlooks, that style is not created by deprivation itself, but by a detachment from the relevant living conditions taking the form of parody, like the "playing the dozen"-strategy of the "black communities."
In the United States of America, logo-culture and brand plagiarism convey another message than in Europe, where youth cultures counteract the "Hippie-jabbering" of their parental generation by a soundless logo-culture. This represents a culture of denial and disobedience, withdrawing from the spoken language. The heated talk about a youth culture in denial of protest shows that the objective of dissociation from the adult world was attained.
Playing around with brandmarks and logos is meaningful, too. The youth cultures neither stick to internal borders betwen the styles, nor to genres of fashion like sport- and work wear and thus circumvent the purity of brands and ideologically motivated brand-policies. The extremely condensed design of brandmarks is not only an economic end in itself or representing a complete lack of references. As everywhere, the brand of course indicates the manufacturer. On a secondary level it is then assigned to a particular life-style, thereby becoming meaningful. Here the shifting by youth cultures sets in, e.g. from the millieu of sailing (Helly Hansen) or surfing (Stüssy) to the HipHop and House scene. Cult-brands like Stüssy create an ideology of brands, which relies on a cut down of resources, i.e. only selected dealers are licensed, a myth of development linked to a famous athlete and a limited clientel. An expropriation which contradicts the brand's philosophy is frowned upon: Stüssy's brand-policy exclusively targets the HipHop community and people associated with surfing, despite advertisements in Techno- and House magazines. Another case of "misuse" is the expropriation of collections by Tommy Hilfiger, who with his racist orientation would rather prohibit the "black community" from wearing his clothes. Both cases make the brand, which the scene's eyes are set on, even more attractive and thus paradoxically boost sales again, so that this could also be considered part of the marketing strategy.
The processes of youth cultures question the visual permanence of brandmarks. Variants are not allowed by the classic trademarks for legal reasons. The corporate identity needs the unalterability of the trademark, e.g. an alteration of the star of Mercedes is unthinkable.
Logos are general symbols of social acceleration. The contraction and combination of language and image results in icons, emoticons, strokes and initials or pictograms, i.e. in immediately perceptible visual condensations. The shifting and visual processing of logos and trademarks in youth cultures refer to the occupation of language and images by the cultural industry, both in the public and the private sphere. Youth cultures, by the means of alteration of designs and illegal appropriation, achieve a partial re-occupation of occupied spheres of language and images.

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