Here’s a closer look:
I imagine this is what it would be like at a Lacoste crocodile family gathering (pardon me for my corny sense of humor). Sibling designers Fernando and Humberto Campana teamed up with Lacoste to create limited edition shirts featuring their signature crocodile logo in a variety of designs. In interviews, the brothers explained that they wanted to expand on the stuffed animal alligator chairs they created.
I find the intersection of craft and fashion to be very exquisite. It opens my eyes to all sorts of unique creative opportunities (Damn!, I should have kept all those stuffed animals I won in the claw machines). The fact that they were able to create a fabric from those little croc logos is mind blowing. You can imagine the expertise, skill, and creativity involved to bring such a piece to life. I also like that they are working to incorporate the concept of nature and the actual lifestyle of crocodiles into their work.
The shirt also makes me think of the symbolic meaning of the Lacoste logo. This crocodile serves as a status symbol, an indicator of wealth, an icon for style. It reminds me of my father’s Lacoste shirts and how as a child I thought it was so cute and silly (it seemed created solely for a child’s entertainment). I wanted to rip it off and play with it – afterall it looked like a cartoon. And I never understood why all my father’s polos had some animal on the front. It wasn’t until I was much older that I was able to fully comprehend the perceived meaning of clothing labels. I had to leave my small town and enter the world of boarding school to get my education on “name brands” and their hidden meanings. Afterall, there is no better way to learn about money than being around the rich.
Then my mind goes to the lyrics of Biggie’s “Sky’s the Limit”, making me think of how clothing labels and status are explored throughout pop culture:
“A nigga never been as broke as me, I like that
When I was young I had two pair of Lees, besides that
The pin stripes and the gray (uh-huh)
The one I wore on Mondays and Wednesdays
While niggas flirt, I’m sewing tigers on my shirt
Ya wanna see the inside, huh, I see ya later
Here come the drama, oh, that’s that nigga wit the fake, blaow!”
I read the interview with the Compana brothers where they are asked: “What does the crocodile logo mean to you?” Their response: “Power.” Maybe they were alluding to the strength of the crocodile. But there is also the known social conditioning that teaches us to link clothing labels with socioeconomic status. With those cute cartoons comes a serious side. The side that attempts to reflect social status through one’s ability to spend. The croc means money, and only those who have enough can get the “real” thing. I am fascinated about how our very clothes are used to dictate ideas about us. We judge others by their “cover” and call it human nature. But there is nothing natural about it. The powers that be in fashion decide what labels will rise to the top and which ones won’t. They also decide what clothing embodies their idea of fashionable/ runway worthy. And then these thoughts trickle down into the mainstream, where we are guided to make purchases. These purchases then become so much more than finding materials to cover our body. They become a definition of who we are, what we supposedly earn, and where we come from. It’s important to remember this to stay grounded. A label is nothing more then a label, human thought shapes how we react. I hope fashion can take a turn toward focusing on comfort and function, along with creative design. I plan to incorporate this into my own fashion line – fashion for the masses and all classes! Let’s take away the power of spending and focus it on something more meaningful…like learning about crocs. Here’s a picture from one of my favorite childhood memories: Gatorland (yeah they got the crocodiles too:)
Let me leave you with this quote as some food for thought:
“If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture, let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies…. It would be a sad situation if the wrapper were better than the meat wrapped inside it.”
Read more about the Compana Brothers non-profit support at: http://blog.bola.info/2009/07/09/campanabrothers/