Boy London, for the less fashion conscious reader, is a UK based fashion label, popular with celebrities, and, according to the internet, gay guys. It's been around for years and has recently been sported by the likes of Rihanna when she appeared on Jonathon Ross as well as a host of other celebrities in long past decades. From an aesthetic standpoint the label is minimalistic and relies on the use of bold typefaces and the completely normal consistent usage of the national socialist eagle emblem, which as far as I can tell nobody seems to mind about.
The label was borne out of the success of Stephane Raynor's Kings Road clothes boutique, which opened in the late 70's. Boy, supposedly fuelled on a desire for reinvention and innovation, managed to gain some traction amongst celebrities such as Madonna, Andy Warhol in the 80's and gained a reputation as an iconic label. The brand even expanded to a parisian club night in the early 80's. But Boy London fizzled out through the 90's and could only be found in charity and vintage shops. In 2008 the brand was relaunched to critical acclaim.
Boy London rose out of the punk era and from it's outset used numerous images to do with nazi Germany. One of the earliest t shirts produced included a silk-screen print of a Hitler portrait and later shirts included the Swastika and eagle. Early designs didn't remove the swastika held by the eagle, but later designs left an empty circle in it's place. In 2008 when the label relaunched the nazi symbols returned and it looks as though they are here to stay.
It's times like this when I am probably writing beyond my capabilities. I don't have the relevant knowledge of Freud or whoever to really analyse why Boy London uses nazi symbols in it's designs or what effect it has on people or Society. In answer to the first question as far as I can tell, unless Stephane Raynor, supports Nazi ideology, the symbols have been used simply to get a reaction. However I wasn't alive in the late 70's to gauge the reaction to the designs the first time they came round, but I'm sure some sort of dusty liberal had something to say about it. Regardless of the garments' reception in the 70's and 80's I think the majority of people wearing Boy London today aren't aware of the political, moral and social motives behind the designs' original conception and I would hazard a guess that the 2012 Rihanna fan, who picks up some Boy London leggings is not aware that they are walking around with a militaristic extreme right wing logo on their legs, which represents a fascist government responsible for arguably one of the greatest human atrocities in our history. I would love to see the sales statistics for Boy London in Germany, where the usage of these symbols is illegal. It seems strange that Lady Gaga wearing a dress out of meat makes people stamp their feet and shake their fists, but Rihanna grinding on Jonathon Ross covered in fascist political symbols is fine. Maybe we should bring out a range of new era caps with some cool rascist insignia on or a range of communist flip flops.
What do you think to Boy London's nazi eagle?