Dress Your Family In Whimsy And Symbolism: When Clothing Names Get Absurd

September's W magazine takes on the trend of increasingly obscure - not to say ludicrous - handles fashion lines have been sporting of late, band-style, a phenom they dub "the sartorial head-scratcher." As the article's author, Dana Wood, puts it, "there seems to be a pitched battle to come up with the most obscure monikers possible. While no one is lobbying for anything hyper-obvious, à la Very Well-Cut Pants or Crazy-Nice Cashmere Sweaters, it's become nearly impossible to glean a label's MO from its name."

While some feel a to-the-point name would actually stand out at this point, the fashion pack is still cleaving to obscurity. "For us, it's intriguing when a label has a weird name," [Opening Ceremony co-owner] Leon tells the magazine. "Someone will say, ‘There's a line in Japan called Mercibeaucoup.' So what is that? The name doesn't give you any idea. We do a little research and then go to these secret locations to find them. It's a game of telephone for us." Basically, it's like a bunch of surrealists were stuck in an ad agency and phoned it in for half an hour before getting bored and calling it a day! And don't think this trend is confined to the high-end: Urban Outfitters is rife with "Fairytales are Trues" and Kimchi and Blues." Or the trend of women's names - Edie Rose? Madison Marcus? - that have nothing to do with the designers'. And don't even get us started on jeans. As far as we can see, this genre of names divides into four major categories.

Obscure and Cool-Sounding:
Helmet of the Will
Elevate and Collide
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Goat and Tree

Misleading:
Minimarket
Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair (not shoes - ed)

Pretentious:
Miss Havisham
Black Sheep & Prodigal Sons (from Kafka Was the Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir by Anatole Broyard. Obvi.)
Miss Davenporte

Sorta Descriptive:
Dirty Librarian Chains (it's actually jewelry-ed)

As for our nascent lines? Working titles:
The Grand Sophy (Doubles as theoretical band name - ed)
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Red Fox Eats Japanese Eggplant
Andre Says Baah!
Wistful Antagonism
Bish Plz

The Name Game [W]