The Strange Sartorial Endurance of the PlayStation Logo

The game console and the world of fashion aren’t as far removed as you might think

Nikes
The Nike PG2 PlayStation shoes are one of many places you're likely to see a certain distinctive logo.
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By Tobias Carroll / December 5, 2019 6:29 am

It’s been 25 years since the PlayStation first hit retail shelves. A PC Magazine article from 2013 looking back at its history notes the massive success of its original iteration, selling 102 million consoles during its existence — over three times as many as one of its rivals, the Nintendo 64. It’s certainly true that the PlayStation changed the face of gaming forever, and possibly that of home entertainment as well.

But a new article by Julia Alexander at The Verge explores a different way in which PlayStation has left its mark (and continues to leave its mark) in popular culture: namely, the way its logo has taken on a life of its own when it comes to style. Wearing a shirt with PlayStation’s distinctive logo on it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a dedicated Gran Turismo player; it just means you’ve got style to spare.

Alexander makes the case for the ubiquity of the logo from the outset:

Its logo, designed by Japanese graphic artist Manabu Sakamoto (who also designed Sony VAIO’s logo), helped usher in an iconic piece of signage that streetwear culture incorporated into daily fashion wear. It isn’t the only famous gaming logo, of course: Microsoft’s Xbox logo is easily recognizable, but it’s not adorning sweaters and beanies or being repped by Instagram influencers.

Things could have gone very differently for Sony: a recently-surfaced compilation of rejected logos for the PlayStation show what might have been. While many of these earlier logos look perfectly fine (disclaimer: this is the impression of someone who is not a professional graphic designer), it’s also difficult to envision them on shirts, hats and shoes over the course of several decades.

A case study on the PlayStation logo and brand from the Moirae Creative Agency makes an important point: “Changing little in over 20 years from its initial concept, the strength of the PlayStation brand has outstripped even the Sony brand itself, with the product becoming bigger than the company who created it.” That may be why you’ll see people wearing a PlayStation shirt who would never dream of having a Sony logo emblazoned across their clothing.

And to date, there’s been a wealth of clothing making fascinating and creative usage of the PlayStation logo. Earlier this year, Hype debuted a line of clothing to commemorate PlayStation’s 25th anniversary. Video game-inspired clothing company Insert Coin has an array of stylish shirts and jackets that take their cues from PlayStation. 

That’s also not a new phenomenon. When the PlayStation Portable launched in 2006, its launch event took place as part of LA Fashion Week. And the history of Nike and PlayStation teaming up is also one that dates back nearly 20 years, which extends to the present day. With the PlayStation 5 on the horizon, this unlikely marriage of gaming and fashion should continue for years to come.

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