Animal logos and fashion brands
Apart from all being animals, what do a crocodile, a horse, a zebra, an eagle and a turtle all have in common? They are all used as iconic logos for some of the world’s most notable fashion brands.
In fashion, every brand works tirelessly on setting itself apart from its competitors. Thousands (and in some case millions) of dollars are poured into research and marketing to help that brand create an instantly recognisable identity: a logo, a trademark, a quirky design element that in-itself, embodies the brand. Some of these elements are so widely recognisable that you know the brand simply by its logo, without even knowing it’s history. That is where we come in.
Here’s a look at the history behind some of the most iconic animal logos the fashion world has to offer:
The life of a professional athlete is finite. They may be all-conquering on the court, track or field, but arguably the biggest challenge of an athlete is what to do once that inevitable early retirement comes. A fine example of someone who mastered the transition is Rene Lacoste. The sartorially-savvy Frenchman ruled the tennis courts in the 1920s, with his peerless baseline technique. But as celebrated as he was (he was a seven-time Grand Slam winner), Lacoste’s name has endured after spearheading the shift from old fashioned, cumbersome “tennis whites” to light, movement-friendly polo shirts featuring a well-known little crocodile.
The crocodile was added to the clothing to represent Lacoste’s nickname, but just how he came to gain that nickname has been attribute to two different stories. Firstly, it is alleged that during a tie in the Davis Cup, the French team captain wagered an alligator-skin suitcase should Lacoste triumph in his forthcoming match. A match that Lacoste would win. This link to the crocodile would be further embellished when members of the French press would begin to be affectionately refer to his as ‘Le Crocodile’ for his tenacious style of play.
Such is the power of logos that if we were to ask what animal was associated with fashion brand Ralph Lauren, we’re pretty sure most of you would, without hesitation, answer a horse. If not, well, then we can simply shake our heads disapprovingly and point you in the direction to the nearest Polo shop. But what you might not be aware of is that the famed man-behind-the-brand, Ralph Lauren, had even been to a polo match before the logo was first stitched onto his company’s polo shirts.
With the brand looking to capture the prestige and privilege of the British-American high life, the use of a polo pony was a stroke of genius. And we’re pretty sure that since his ascendancy into fashion stardom, Mr Lauren has probably attended a couple of polo matches since.
We all have an idea of what ‘the good life’ looks like. For the guys behind the Seattle-based clothing brand Tommy Bahama it involves sitting on a white sandy beach, under a palm tree chatting up beautiful women in multiple languages. For them, Tommy Bahama is the good life. The majesty of a fictional, debonair, perpetually-tanned, island-dwelling character is that there is nothing they cannot do.
The use of the highly-prized sailfish as the brand’s trademarked emblem, represents Tommy’s most legendary (and made-up) tale, where, in true MacGuyver style, he once caught a 200-pound sailfish using only a coconut shell, some broken sunglasses and the drawstring from his swimming trunks.
From a young boy dreaming of becoming a professional racing cyclist, to one of Britain’s most celebrated designers, Paul Smith’s journey has been anything but ordinary – much like a multi-coloured zebra.
The quirky emblem that adorns the brand’s casual wear, the zebra perfectly captures the brand’s ethos of ‘classic with a twist’. Having built his reputation on designing high-quality, tailoring-focused menswear with a idiosyncratic British element, Paul Smith’s use of vibrant colours made him stand out. It’s for that reason that the elegant and exotic zebra has colourful stripes.
Many look back at the ‘70s with vivid recollections of the Beatles’ break-up, ridiculous haircuts and cringe-worthy glam rock acts. But thanks to one Saint Tropez native, it’s the bland, figure-hugging, swimming briefs that haunt his memories.
One day, while sitting at a cafe watching the world go by sports journalist Fred Prysquel decided to sketch out the design of men swimwear on the corner of a tablecloth. Staying true to the holiday resort’s local sailing culture, Prysquel decided that the logo of his not-yet-started company would be a Moorea turtle, named Meperfo.
Since the Vilebrequin has grown into a successful business enterprise, but the Southern French luxury brand has not forgotten its roots, heavily investing in the Plant-A-Fish Foundation, helping a campaign to proactively ensure the safety and reintroduction of endangered sea turtles into the Pacific Ocean.
Le coq Sportif
Taking its name from the national symbol of France, the logo for ‘The Athletic Rooster’ seemed to be somewhat of a no-brainer. That said, it wasn’t until more than sixty years after the French sports brand was founded in 1882, that the hugely recognisable cockerel logo first appeared on its logo. As the kit supplier for many of France’s sporting teams, it remains to be a brand that provokes a fierce sense of Gallic pride.