Why Everyone Wears NASA Branded Clothing
Once you start noticing them, it’s hard to stop.
Coach originally approached NASA to ask if it could use the “worm” logo, the retro design the space agency used from 1975 to 1992. NASA, which banned the use of the worm after it was retired in the 90s, changed his mind. about it, allowing Coach to use the logo, said Ulrich.
After the Coach clothing line was released, things exploded.
“Before 2017, we were doing five or 10 [logo approvals] one week. We’ve gotten to the point where we’re releasing an average of 225 a week,” Ulrich said.
Last year there were “over 11,000 requests”, he said, an all-time high.
Before Coach, kids bought NASA t-shirts at vintage stores because they liked the nostalgic feel, the nostalgia of a piece of classic Americana, Hall said.
“You start with kids in cities like New York buying like old Disney products or old NASA t-shirts, and then suddenly some like ‘cool hunters’ in the fashion industry, like at Urban Outfitters, see it and suddenly think, ‘We should transform some NASA-branded t-shirts,'” Hall said. “It’s a kind of trend reverse engineering.”
It was probably only after the “cool kids” started wearing NASA t-shirts on the streets that designer brands picked it up and sold it back to them.
Hall, the Brooklyn-based creative director, said that in his mind, wearing the NASA logo was more about showing off what the logo stands for than declaring his love for outer space.
It represents “that kind of quintessential American optimism that we can do anything,” he said.
It is not politically affiliated, he added, and can be marketed to young liberals and rural conservatives, sparking the same nostalgia.
“People who work for brands like Heron Preston and Balenciaga are as enamored with the fantasy of space travel as anyone else. No one is immune to that level of nostalgia, so it only makes sense that these brands want to incorporate this into their own collections,” he said.
It’s happened with other logos and franchises, he notes, like Balenciaga doing projects with “The Simpsons” or Coach with Mickey Mouse.
“These enduring symbols speak to everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status. Not everyone can connect with Heron Preston or Target, but everyone gets modern Americana from brands like NASA, Disney, Peanuts and The Simpsons,” he said. “Things like NASA sort of act like this magic equalizer.”