#GramGen is a series profiling the most radical characters in youth culture, who continue to shape trend behavior and spark controversy through their avant fashion sense and candid social media personalities.
From the fandom that surrounds Supreme's infamous box logo to the recently crazed adidas trefoil logo haircut on this season's runway, logos continue to be a crucial part of a brand's identity. They represent status, allegiance and more, explains artist, Dennis Loesch, whose most recent project, "The Sweater Edition," combines logos from today's biggest high fashion and streetwear brands.
While Loesch has worked as a conceptual artist for 20 years, it wasn’t until a friend accidentally combined two brand names out loud that the idea for the project was born. Now, the Berlin-based artist is creating unfathomable combinations of brands' logos, from "THRACNE" to ''VERSUCCI," and has chosen a classic, oversized sweatshirt to be their canvas.
For Loesch, there's a method for melding brand names and logos to make his creations. First, he explains, the combination must make sense sonically. If the two names don't sound good when combined, it just won't work. It isn't until after hearing the names together that he considers their graphic compatibility. Lastly, it's about creating "impossibilities" amongst fashion brands, further exploring the association between high fashion and streetwear that's becoming more and more prevalent in today's fashion collaborations.
We caught up with the artist to chat about why people are so obsessed with logos, his upcoming pop-up shop in Berlin, and how a misspoken word became the inspiration for the collection.
What’s your occupation?
Where are you from and where are you currently based?
From Frankfurt, based in Berlin.
What kind of art has your career generally focused on?
I have been working as an artist for 20 years, mostly in the field of conceptual art. The first time I worked with garments was in Frankfurt, during my studies at the Staedelschule. I had a fashion shop in my studio, called "hallo moden," where I exhibited original outfits of figures from the international art world.
David Zwirner, Knight Landesman, Isabell Graw, André Schlechtriem or Johann Koenig, for instance, were asked to give me a set of their clothing to show at "hallo moden." People weren’t able to purchase the original clothes, only tailored copies in black or white.
When did you begin exploring brand logos in your work?
It was the idea of playing around with the appearance and the power of names, namedropping, in my professional surroundings that made this project so legendary. It was a similar thought that led me to cut and combine famous fashion brands to produce an article of clothing.
How did "The Sweater Editions" idea come about?
It started with a friend’s slip of the tongue. We were having a conversation about fashion we had seen that week, browsing through Instagram on a train ride. Prada and adidas came up in the feed. A second later she said the word "Pradidas."
Since I was planning an edition at the time, I decided the idea of combining existing logos would work well for fashion. It took a while until I found the perfect oversized cut for a very classic crewneck sweatshirt. The sweatshirt, I feel, is the best solution to get the idea across because you are able to actually wear it very well. You can, of course, also frame it and hang it on a wall.
Logos can play a huge role in a brand’s identity and success —why do you think certain logos become so iconic? Is it about aesthetic or something more?
It is an operating system that has something to do with RUN DMC, Barbara Kruger and an attitude that becomes form.
Is there a reason for which two logos you choose to combine?
How it sounds is very important for me. The graphic decision comes second. Alpha Indusdries van Noten sounds good, but graphically it makes no sense.
As well as being an artist, I have always been a dedicated follower of fashion. I find the sheer mass of collaborations between high fashion and streetwear brands rather disturbing than refreshing, and I wanted to map out other unasked for, more interesting impossibilities.
First, I produced prototypes of "THE NEW BALENCIAGA" and "THE THRACNE" versions. My crew and I wore them a couple of times for gallery openings and other occasions. It sounds and looks like something real that somehow places itself above the original. This is what I find so interesting and I am experimenting further with this thought.
In your opinion, which brand has the most iconic logo and why?
That would be Nike, I guess. The logo and the brand can be seen basically everywhere and had very well known multiplicators and famous ambassadors over the past decades. My favorite logo right now is "demeter" though. But we are not talking about nutrition!
From clothing to sneakers, the oversized logo trend is everywhere — why do you think logos are so attractive to buyers, specifically in the streetwear market?
Status, identification, allegiance, attention. When I was living in LA I noticed that pretty quickly.
Is there a dream person or brand you’d like to collaborate with?
I am open for collaborations in general. I have a lot of ideas for sneakers and clothing now.
Where can people purchase your pieces?
"The Sweater Edition" can be ordered exclusively through the studio, firstname.lastname@example.org, and my Instagram DM. My other works are mainly shown with Gallery Dittrich and Schlechtriem in Berlin.
Any future news or projects we can look forward to seeing?
The first pop-up store opens on January 25, Thursday in Berlin, Brunnenstrasse 22 at 6pm. It is a one-night-only event. We will launch THE CHAMPAUL SMITH and nine other versions from the edition with reflective prints. I’m also planning additional pop-up events with the edition in London, Vienna, Amsterdam and Frankfurt in March, April and May.
A publication about "The Sweater Edition" is in the making, and I am working on a new painting show.
Dennis Loesch has partnered with Mo Whiteman to launch the REFLECTIVE SERIES of the Sweater Edition at BRUNNENSTRASSE 22 in Berlin tonight.
Next, check out @slumpykev the artist making your favorite cartoon clothing.