16 September 2005


I find this clothing company, called deadwear, interesting in that they've chosen the imagery of sacrifice as the theme for their clothing design. Here is an example of branding, in that they've chosen a particular context in which to express themselves in the hope that others feel the same way and find a similar sort of relief or release or comfort in broadcasting to others via their style.

It saves time in that we don't require initial "ice-breaking" conversation, as we broadcast to the world certain traits and characteristics we're interested in. I know that nine times out of ten, that most girls approaching me in hoochie pants and some tummy-revealing top is not going to have much in common with me, so I don't invest the time or energy into getting to know her. Someone with a more reserved sense of style, confident in themself and uncaring towards popular trend, perhaps with a darker tinge of fashion sense that she may exhibit through her make-up or hair or whatever, that would draw my interest. And even then, more than half the time she's a fucking hipster, right?

Anyhow, what I'm saying is that style, brands, and any sort of tribalism is a necessary bane in today's information-rich world. The Molson Canadian brand is worth uncalculably more than the beer itself, cuz the beer is actually engineered to taste as little like beer as possible (I saw a documentary on it on CBC Newsworld, kind of interesting).

Problem is when individuals are victims of fashion or branding and they let the trends and brand names wear them. This is actually a good analogy for language and how it can imprison people to a particular paradigm. It takes some looking inward to develop an intuitive sense of one's own style, something that can be expressed outwardly to aid in the networking and growth of the particular social network that you desire, not dictated by what's popular or engineered by MuchMusic, VH1, Cosmo, and silly Hollywood movies.

Talking to Tim a bit recently, I see the occult brands a'cometh…


channel null said...

Branding, branding. Tube-tops as a sigil. The idea of branded clothing, e.g., as immediate ice-breaker makes sense to me as a form of Rushkoff's "social capital", an excuse to interact.

I often find myself possessed with symbols I need to spread onto my clothing, and have one or two observations. I can't see "deadwear" being a successful brand among all but goths, and hardcore/metalheads, for a couple reasons.

First, it seems like certain sigils people will react with innate disdain towards. Once I experiemented with cognitive dissonance by printing "peace on earth" over a radiation symbol, and found that most folks react negatively, in a subtle way, to it. I suspect that one of the two taken alone would be fine. Maybe the image was too martial.

I'm trying to come up with an "occult terrorist" logo right now.

Secondly, I found that, especially with the rise of indie-rock/hipster crap to the mainstream, kids will spend $40 on a neutral image, pseudo-ironic like a imaginary karate studio, a picture of a horse that says "Pinto," etc. I've got a shirt with a picture of North America on it, and that usually get glowing but vapid comments. "Ohh, I really like that, did you make it yourself?" Said bland, ironic images have a bizarre cross-subcultural "portability"; I think it'd be easier to fit into a frat party, a strip club, a punk show, dressed as such--partly because MTV picked up on it--than with a more aggressive, stark image.

My favorite part of punk sensibilities--the hebefrenic fury of different images--never really caught on the way the spiked accessories did. To me, there seems to be a balance between monolithic and hebefrenic, like additional symbols/logos/images allow an interface to central one, but too many or one alone are difficult to approach... Blah.

Of course, you probably learn this in design and advertising courses.

Fell said...

Yeah I totally agree. I just went out and got some sweet vintage crap this evening with a friend. The "Peace on Earth" shirt you mention is interesting, I think because people react sorta negatively to it due to the confusing message. Most of the time, people want info spoon-fed to them or else the confusion is upsetting. It's like a taint.

As for deadware, we'll see. They do actually some nice clothes, but as for the image, who knows. So far I see punk kids wearing it, trendy bartenders, et al. I do think it's an interesting concept — sacrifice — so we'll see how they develop and if they last.

Let me know how the "occult terrorist" logomark goes. Speaking of which, one of my favourite terms is by Robert Anton Wilson: "ontological anarchy." I dunno why I thought of that.

Right now I am trying to spare some time to put together my own stuff for business, putzing with a wordmark of my own for some design and printing I want do. I really need to get a site up and some cards done. The one I am favouring so far is here.

tim boucher said...

I really like the "garden" section on deadwear, where they have the heros of deadwear. very simple and well done i think.

channel null said...

The "hero" idea is particularly clever on their part: is that promo site for "corporate relgion" still up? The idea behind the book was to create not just a corporate "culture" but something the customers treated as "religion." It does instantly convey information, and, of course you always put Jesus up top.

"Sacrifice" is so last aeon--but it seems a good conceit for the Culture of Survival. "I'm a Survivor" "Cancer Survivor" "CBS Survivor" "I Will Survive", old stockholders talking about how good they are at "surviving," etc.

enemiescon said...

Probably the wrong place to chime in with something so banal, but all this talk of branding meta-messages and ambitious anthology projects has got me bouncing off the walls thinking oh gosh, what can or should I do?

My heads about to explode with frustrated dreams unfulfilled and hear I am surrounded by all these smart marketing information architecture occultist folks...

If anyone has any ideas on how I could or should redesign enemies.com or what I should do with it I would be most grateful for your suggestions.

If it was in poor taste to solicit such suggestions on anothers blog well then I do apologize and beg your forgiveness.

Fell said...

No, that's cool, man. I'm thinking, if you want to get a dialogue going perhaps we can exchange some ideas. I am sure we all have had ideas we wanted to pursue, and I know, for one, there have been many I never fulfilled. But I want to carry my current momentum and experience from my past successes and failures and create something a) for me, and b) for the occult community at large. I have a few things cooking, but there are so many possibilities that I am sure with some creative thinking and design, you could push Enemies.com further.

On that note, your site was one of the first inline sources I found for esoteric content and I've kept it bookmarked for years now. I always liked the way it was presented. I am sure you're ready to update it some, but I've always been a fan!

tim boucher said...

yeah i have ideas too max, we'll talk soon about this.

enemiescom said...

thanks fellas

believe it or not I did actually think about this later and castigate myself for having done something so cheezy

oh well, i guess i should have more faith in my fellow humans

Anonymous said...

Is deadwear about life or death? Fear of death is a huge problem in western society.

Fell said...

I think it embraces death, hence the focus on sacrifice.