By: Kimea Blake
I sit down with Hibebe designer Salem Moussallam to discuss the the do's and don'ts of wearing your favourite brands.
brand boaster, your tacky is showing. Slave that you are to the fashion
obvious, sometimes even the fiercest of fashionista slip up. I see
you, not that I could miss you; Gucci, Prada, Dior and I haven't
looked past your waist. Constant Bloor street patroller that I am,
I've come to expect you and often wonder if I'm the only one that
finds the overexposure of your branded appearance appalling. Being a
part of the boastfully branded is something that most of the style
conscious aspire to be, myself included, but as much as you love to
show off your brands, like anything else in life, there are rules.
On one of my many
aimless strolls in downtown Toronto (fashion elites
in their own eyes) I decided to investigate. The questions? What is
brand etiquette, is it all in my head or does it really exist and
what does it mean to those on the frontline of the fashion industry?
What does it mean to those who have growing brands? To help me answer
these questions I called on the ever charismatic Salem Moussallam.
Salem Moussallam is to Toronto fashion week what Heatherette is to New York's fashion week. He's young, he's hip, he's fiercely fashionable and makes no excuses for it, in a word he's fashion. His line, Hibebe is always playful but edgy and is always a hit with the young fashionistas in the city and beyond. His fashion shows, like him, are young, energetic, fun and are always a highlight at Toronto fashion week. As a young designer with a rapidly growing brand I knew he would be just the person to call when I wanted to explore the brand etiquette issue.
For Salem, brand etiquette is simple. It means “wear the brand the proper way”, meaning, “with respect and dignity”. He relays this from the point of view of a designer. He goes on to say that “most people don't realize the amount of effort that goes into a piece" and though he has a tremendous amount of respect for anyone who wants to be stylish, some people tend to overdo it more often than not.
Too Done Up
Trying to show off the brand too much and wearing multiple labels are no-nos. There is something to be said for subtlety, it's cliché but a little does go a long way. Wearing one brand will get you more attention than wearing several at once. We get it, you're “ballin” but unless you're scared that your closet will run away with your designer duds, you shouldn't be in a rush to wear all that quality at once.
Wearing a Fake
“When wearing a brand, wear it with respect. Wear the real deal”. Don't wear a fake. It takes weeks, sometimes months for a designer to design and create the product, that's why the price points are so high. You're paying for labour, marketing, time and passion. If you can't afford the real thing, try and get something similar. Other than the obvious tacky factor, the worst part is that people can spot a fake within 5 seconds.
WEARING IT WELL
Wear your brands with pride and respect. Take care of your pieces, “treat it like your dog or better yet, your kid”. People tend to get sloppy; investing in your wardrobe is having like having shares of Google in the stockmarket. For many, buying quality isn't a daily thing. Wearing just one piece cannot be stressed enough. You want to be seen but at the same time you want to look good. Wear your Louis Vuitton and Gucci but wear bits and pieces. This way you're respecting the product but you still look hot and when you look hot, you feel good.
After this mini investigation we've decided that brand etiquette is the art of wearing your brands well. Don't be stifled by the industry, look for what's hot and trendy but you should also look for things that others don't have. You want to be respected as being fashionable but you also want to be yourself.
Some will say, “I spent MY money so I'll wear my brands as I please”, those I leave to the fashion Gods.