Fashion psychology (or how a D2 T-shirt makes me feel like I’m Naomi Campbell’s boyfriend).

Pure, intense emotions. It’s not about design. It’s about feelings.Alber Elbaz


The launch of the Dsquared Star 24/7 capsule collection had us think about that theme, which dates back to the very first fully fledged women’s show, which is a landmark in the history of the brand. We wrote about this seminal moment there: The big bang of D2 womenswear

There is a branch of psychology that delves into the relationship between the mind and fashion. It is aptly named…fashion pyschology. Not just an interesting topic of study and an angle of possible therapeutic intervention for some patients, but also a strong marketing instrument. The brand who knows how to tap into potential consumers minds can create desire in these.

I often wonder why do I like something while I wouldn’t be seen dead in another, despite the relative similarity between these two if analysed objectively. On a desert island pants are pants and shoes are shoes. In the same way, why would a brand appeal to me, while others inspire utter repulsion?


I guess some elements are sociological rather than purely psychological. These are intentional choices dictated by our relationship with others. For instance the conscious adoption of certain codes pertaining to a particular socio- educational background (e.g looking posh), or the deliberate use of elements known to be considered attractive by potential mating partners…

However there is an undeniable psychological dimension, one that is about what one thinks of oneself.

Our brand of choice, Dsquared2, like many others, is master in the art of selling a universe, a lifestyle, a utopia. And they sell a new one twice a year for each gender.

The many designers who turned the old-style intimate couture shows a la Poiret or Coco Chanel into a vibrant, loud, themed onstage party have understood this well. Beside the Caten twins today we could name Mary Quant in the 60’s, Saint Laurent in the 70’s, later the “Lagerfeld era” Chanel…

Similarily, genius advertising campaigns in fashion or lifestyle magazines, billboard posters, television commercials…all attempt to speak to us on a sub-conscious level, making us believe that by purchasing the product we will then “become” these perfect-lives fictional characters.img_2617When you follow the brand and its collections from the fashion show to when the pre-collection starts appearing in stores, when you follow the advertising campaigns…then buying a piece it much more than filling a clothing need for a particular part of your body. Subconsciously you are “joining the family”, this fiction created through the ingenious marketing we just evoked. You now ARE one of these cool dudes, you ARE this irresistible femme fatale.And whatever the theme of the collection, you tend to feel a sense of belonging even though in “real life” you might have little affinities with that particular theme. Let’s take the example of these collections like “Fighting dudes” or “Hockey horror”. The main theme is violence. Urban violence with blood and all.

From a philosophical point of view, you probably reject violence: you fear it, you avoid it and you wish it didn’t exist. Yet by wearing the “Bitin” or the “First blood” t-shirt, you develop a polished, idealised idea of street fighting, and you tend to feel tough and fearless…that is when facing your bedroom mirror or at your auntie’s birthday party, because actual street altercations might quickly bring you back to the unpleasant reality of physical danger. The brand makes you live a fantasy.

As a result of all the above, what the clothes mean to YOU is much more important than what they mean to other people, as your sense of self, your confidence, your brashness, your glow…will often stem from from whom you THINK you have become. Yet to non-initiated others (i.e people who do not know the brand you’re wearing, who have no idea about this season’s collection…) it is only the above aspects of your REAL SELF that will matter, rather than your actual outfit.

This is why when I wear the 24/7 t-shirt, people just see some guy with a printed tee; they probably don’t even read the print, subconsciously conditioned to ignoring so many meaningless messages on the dozens of printed tees we see every day. Yet, when I wear it, I AM coming out a private jet with Naomi Campbell at my arm and screaming groupies all around us.

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