Why Some Consumers Want No Logos on Their Gifts This Season

Shoppers browse clothes at a Zara store in Madrid
Angelica Hipolito (L) and her sister Stephanne Hipolito, browse clothes at a Zara store. REUTERS/Susana Vera

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By Ben Popken

Can you have an unbranded Christmas?

Wielding scalpels, irons, seam rippers and permanent markers, an undercurrent of logo-conscious shoppers are removing and hiding the decals from their clothing.

“Why would I do someone else’s advertising for free?” Max Ilich, a 47-year-old consultant from New Hampshire told the Wall Street Journal. He painstakingly removes every stitch of the Lacoste crocodile with a scalpel, saying he likes the shirts for their quality but didn't want to be co-opted as a walking billboard.

With the iconic Crocodylus porosus as perhaps the sartorial ancestor, clothing logos have evolved and swelled in the past decades. On mid-tier brands like Abercombie & Fitch or Juicy Couture they could take up an entire sweatshirt or posterior.

But, perhaps as a sign of a branding backlash, those lines are now pivoting, or struggling. Abercrombie has overhauled its look to revamp its logo and downplay where it appears, and Juicy shuttered all its U.S. stores.

Brand-snubbers are trading how-to tips via YouTube videos and online forums.

Some don't want to broadcast the brand they're wearing. Some think the the logo mars an otherwise good piece of clothing.

Others have a different motive for hiding their brand affiliation.

YouTube user Steph Nonsense shared how to take the logo off a pair of Old Navy sunglasses with nail polish remover. "It makes your cheap sunglasses look less cheap!" she wrote.

It's only a matter of time before a trendy new clothing line capitalizes on the movement.