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$2,041 for Helvetica

A pair of leather boots with “FOR WALKING” printed in Helvetica, is selling for $2,041. Likewise, there are t-shirts, purses, and sneakers marked with the same typeface. Helvetica has become a signature of the streetwear brand Off-White by Virgil Abloh, it’s even used in the logo. An article by Business of Fashion reviews the label as “…a phenomenon of 21st century graphic design applied to fashion.” Recently the brand has exploded as one of the biggest fashion lines sought after by celebrities and millennials. How has a typeface that is ubiquitous in design become prominent in fashion?

Helvetica was developed in 1957 by Swiss typeface designers Max Miedinger and Eduard Hoffmann. Miedinger and Hoffmann’s neo-grotesque typeface was designed to be a “neutral typeface that had great clarity, no intrinsic meaning in its form, and could be used on a wide variety of signage.” This gives some insight into Abloh’s choice to use Helvetica. Abloh is using this almost invisible typeface to blatantly label his pieces to the point that it becomes ironic. So, the $2,041 boots are just, for walking. Even more about Abloh’s use of text on his clothing is covered in an article by High Snobiety, that delves into his use of quotation marks.


One Comment

  1. Jun Hee Kim wrote:

    Ha! I like the boot. Helvetica on the boot are a great combination.

    Sunday, October 8, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink