Although Calvin Klein was far from the first company to throw their logo onto the elastic waistband of a pair of underwear, it’s the way they did it and the specificity of their intentions in their somewhat recent #MyCalvins campaign that really allowed them to stand out, and perhaps subconsciously and unbeknownst even to them, started the still growing trend of “over branding”.
Story By: Kingsley Pascal
Images By: Calvin Klein
Certainly CK benefits from folks like Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner wearing undergarments that bare the companies name, however the beneficiaries themselves are Bieber and Jenner. Carefully placed lettering in the bathing suit area draws the eye to the wearer’s body and accentuates it in a way that for some reason makes them look even more appealing.
Different than “all over branding”, which features the brands label in repetition all over the clothing and was all the rage in the mid to late 90’s, over-branding highlights a very specific area of the clothing, and attracts attention to whatever part of the body is closest. The Calvin Klein lettering also creates a contrast between the waistband and the rest of the briefs/bra, which again pinpoints the wearers curves and almost works as an optical illusion, as you could put up a picture of the same model in a skimpier get up but you’d swear the Calvin Klein one makes them look sexier; because it just might, but not in the traditional sense.
While a tremendous amount of brands feature clothing with super-wide waistbands that contrast with color and styling from the rest of the garment, Nike and UnderArmour are two (of the soon to be many) companies who seem to have employed over-branding into their repertoire. As both athletic giants have a number of leggings with similarly branded waistbands. They also have a few models with plain but super-wide waistbands that you can flip to the reverse side to reveal branding, or in Nike’s case, their famous motto: Just do it.
Though this may seem like a new thing, “Over branding” was very present in the early 90’s and looks like it’s finally on its way back in. Whether it sticks mostly with brand names, or evolves to mottos/sayings/ or even customizations, one thing is for sure: contrast is key. Which is not what CK stands for, but in the case for over-branding, makes complete sense.