Label Lore: 1980s Edition

One thing I always look for whilst thrifting (but rarely find) are the bold ready-to-wear brands like Benetton, Esprit, Naf-Naf, Au Coton, and Kettle Creek. These labels tended to feature natural materials, a not-quite-new-wave, not-quite-preppy aesthetic. Ads for the Italian label Benetton where a big part of the Zeitgeist because artistic director Oliviero Toscani favoured using diverse models to sell the brand’s fun fashions. This was just not done at the time. (Toscani also used this platform to draw attention to controversial subjects like AIDS, gay rights, racism and the death penalty.

When I was a young warthog, one of the most emblematic items in the Benetton catalog was the Rugby shirt. These tops featured the brand’s logo prominently features somewhere and were worn with the collar popped and usually tucked in to a pair of high waisted shorts. I always keep my eyes peeled for one, but so far no dice. I did, however, find this wide-brimmed United Colours of Benetton hat.

I did, however, find a Benetton-style pullover by French label Naf-Naf last week.