A Spotlight On: Iconography

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Since the inception of time, iconography has been recorded in locations which have shown signs of sophisticated human life. From predated religious symbolism and ancient tribal tattooing to more modernised sub-interpretations such as sports jerseys – iconography has been, and still is one of the oldest forms of expression and affiliation in the books.

But when we flip down the streetwear lens, this is where the sense of exclusivity really starts to come into focus. You know – that secret societal feeling – exampled throughout history with the likes of no-nonsense biker gangs, freemasons, and musically-charged movements such as ‘the bling era’ of hip-hop that was prominent in the late ‘90s and early 00s, for but a few.

It’s not solely used for exclusivity as far as streetwear is concerned, though. Iconography is a form of identity, too, with the wearer being able to showcase the sides of their personality as to who they are and what they represent through visual cues of their individual choosing.


ICECREAM Team Skate Cone Cord Shirt

A brand that understands that ‘if you know you know’ mindset more than most is the colourful streetwear magnate ICECREAM, which use reoccurring playful-minded motifs as a form of its iconographical approach.

ICECREAM Running Dog Jeans

Whether it’s through the Running Dog or the Team Skate Cone mascot, ICECREAM’s ability to sew intrigue and recognisability into the fibres of all of its creations is not only impressive, but more-so a tactical approach that’s brave enough to utilise iconography to amplify the aura, reach, and presence of the brand.

It could be argued over what the true meaning is behind each individual mascot; some say the Running Dog represents brand innovation, some say it’s the youthful essence of Nigo & Pharrell’s endlessly creative personalities. Perhaps it’s a bit of both. Whatever the meaning really is – it definitely succeeds in driving up intrigue, and in giving the overall brand an undeniably exclusive edge alongside a unique unopposed zeal.

ICECREAM Belt Loop Graphic

ICECREAM Team Skate Cone

Carhartt WIP

Then there’s the likes of Carhartt WIP, who’ve embodied vintage signage native to the vast American landscape as an extension of the Detroit brand’s visual identity.

Carhartt WIP Vintage Sign Graphic

From sodium-lit gas stations, greasy fast-food chains, thin-walled motels and more – Carhartt WIP like to take its iconographical influence from generalisations of U.S.A ‘road’ subcultures, drawing associations from the fantastically-idolised working-class American dream narrative with the Michigan brand.

Carhartt WIP Fast Food T-Shirt

Carhartt WIP Mystery Machine


Last-up – OBEY.  Propagandic in its delivery, memorable in its execution. OBEY has been heavy on iconography usage for years, subliminally spreading their punchy streetwear activism into the public domain season after season.

OBEY Giant Graphic

Unforgettably hypnotic, OBEY is able to leave an impression through its iconographic messaging, like a visual fingerprint, or a dampened poster hanging off of a lamppost type of feel. The graphics speak on their own privately dictated wavelength, imperative messaging which has a way of embedding itself into the mind through versatile mediums.

OBEY Neighbourhood Watch Graphic

OBEY x Napapijri

Feeling represented? Dig even deeper into iconography with aid from our collection of streetwear staples.

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