The soccer scarf invades high fashion

The ultimate anti-brand brand

When Balenciaga does a soccer scarf advertising Aldi it brings a fresh breeze into the air de Paris, the air of the left with the wallet of the right.

Oi! Oi! The soccer scarf is back: Balenciaga A/W 2017 Foto: PR

Soccer scarves are a very special item. But more than just advertise your favorite team, they advertise politics, nation states, prejudice. Witness Albania vs Serbia (Skenderbeu vs Partizan on november, 2nd) with Serbian fans provocatively shouting “Kosovo is Serbia,“ and a drone carrying a “Greater Albanian“ flag leading to complete stadium mayhem.

But when a fashion house like Vetements makes a soccer scarf brandishing the Aldi pattern, it’s a different ball game altogether: or is it?

Vetements fans are fans of the ironic. Anyone who wears a Vetements Levi’s jeans jacket is ready for the tackle, American football style. Witness the giant IKEA blue shopping bag done up with the Balenciaga logo. In case you don’t know, Demna Gvasalia is the designer of both houses. Sorry, fashionistas, for stating the obvious.

But for the rest of you, let’s just say that Gvasalia has put his finger on the Zeitgeist. He’s hot. Since his oversized humor hit the runways in the spring of 2015. The high-heels on his boots are made of unicorn cigarette lighters! Tell me that is not funny. But those same boots may cost you more than a month of (Berlin) rent. A Balenciaga soccer scarf, for instance, will run you just shy of 500 euro.

Vetements Ankle Sock Boots Foto: PR

So when Balenciaga does a soccer scarf advertising Aldi what’s going on? A sort of anti-Chanel campaign? Sort of. It’s not that obvious. Aldi advertising it is not. (No more so is the IKEA bag for Balenciaga advertising for IKEA.)

It’s more along the lines of politics. Inviting a fresh breeze into the air de Paris, the snobbery of fashion, the air of the left with the wallet of the right. Vetements is the brand that made branding cool again. It’s the ultimate anti-brand brand. With the added irony is that it is super expensive. The ultimate show-offs wear it: I am so smart and I have money. I couldn’t think of anything more zeitgeisty than that. Coco Channel has been relegated to the sidelines. Vetements is the new team elite on the field.

The Balenciaga Carry Shopper bag, left; the Ikea Frakta bag Foto: Balenciaga/Ikea

My prediction? The fan clubs of teams #metoo or #iamanimmigrant are growing strong. Soccer scarves bearing those hashtags will be soon at a store near you. Let’s just hope they don’t start throwing beer bottles at your head.

April Lamm

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