Posted by Abe Sauer on February 18, 2010 04:01 PM
French fashion designer Christian Audigier has designed for a wide range of brands, including Lee, Naf Naf, Liberto, and Kookai. He is famously the creative force behind love them/hate them brand juggernauts Von Dutch and Ed Hardy.
Audigier has also collaborated on a brand of wine and champagne and a nightclub in a Las Vegas Casino. He understands the power of branding probably as well as any designer or marketer. That is why his latest move is so entertaining.
In the Las Vegas Sun, Robin Leach (Yes, that Robin Leach!) writes that Christian Audigier is "going to make the ultimate fashion statement here this week with the revelation that he’s here to launch a no name, no logo and no brand line. One of the flashiest men on the planet is going flash free!"
Despite having "no name, no logo and no brand" the line will be called "the same guy." (Yes, all lower case.) Audigier himself said of the non-line, “It has beautiful fabric, beautiful fit for body styles and great colors, and I believe my fans will still go with me as followers... It is absolutely logo and graphic free."
For a designer like Audigier, the idea that the fashion itself does not incorporate the name brand (e.g., Von Dutch and Ed Hardy) may qualify as brand-free. However, it is adorably naive when producers of anything announce that their products will have "no brand." (For example, the "Nobrand" line.)
It betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of what a brand is by supposing that a brand is solely defined by its legal owner. A brand is an agreement between its consumers and its owner about a set of values. No matter how much an owner wants his or her brand to have no brand at all, consumers will assign it one.