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How the PlayStation logo became a streetwear icon



Whether people are shopping at Forever 21 or perusing a street in their cool neighborhood, chances are, there's a symbol attached to a hoodie lying around both places: the PlayStation logo.

Released in Japan in 1994, Sony's PlayStation revolutionized gaming. But the brand had an outsized impact on culture at large. 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's not the only famous gaming logo, of course: Microsoft's Xbox logo is easily recognizable, but it's not anticipating sweaters and beanies or being repossessed by Instagram influencers. Even Nintendo's red-and-white capsule imagery, easily one of the most iconic in gaming, has not been adopted by streetwear culture as much as PlayStation's logo.

So what is it about that distinct P and S icon that has made it so enduring?

The PlayStation logo has been transcended gaming and is now a part of hypebeast culture. Major corporations and streetwear designers have come to incorporate the logo into various pieces of clothing. A long-sleeved shirt with the red, yellow and blue logo helps it pop.

There's a warmth to the PlayStation icon makes it feel like more than a corporate logo. The standing P and floating S, combined to make the image generations of people, is a quintessential character. Froyo Tam, co-founder of the Y2K Aesthetic Institute and a designer, told The Verge that nostalgia-culture tends to run in 20-year cycles. Tam, who runs a popular Twitter account dedicated to '90s and' 00s aesthetics, archiving and cataloging the vibes that defined those eras, said the PlayStation logo is a definitive part of that period.

"It's still going on," Tam says.


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Photo by Christian Vierig / Getty Images [19659011] Part of that is the design. The PlayStation signage the first real isometric art used for a major console, Tam says. People were drawn to their silhouette. The design of the silhouette "is very striking and helped in terms of certifying its iconic impact," Tam Argues. The PlayStation icon works because it stirs a feeling in people.

"Everything about the Play Station aesthetic is memorable," Tam says. "It has this iconic start-up chime. Something really important to talk about is the original boot-up sequence for the PlayStation.

PlayStation's signage did not become a staple of hypebeast culture and mainstream overnight fashion, just like It's literally just three sound effects all layered on each other, and it has this ambience reverb that defined the '90s. " Final Fantasy did not launch an immediate Louis Vuitton partnership. It took more than a few years for fashion designers and artists to start incorporating the art into their pieces. Now, it's everywhere. Instagram Fashionistas and labels like Hummingbirds have a lot of fun, but they have a lot of fun.

The PlayStation logo changed over the years, but the iconic version that appeared on the original PlayStation hardware lived forever on oversized white hoodies and long-sleeved black shirts. Anecdotally, while I usually do not buy shirts with any kind of recognizable logo, I did not buy a crop top that the PlayStation logo because of the overall aesthetic.

That's the difference between hypebeasts and streetwear labels adopting the PlayStation logo and some t-shirts with straight-up printed photos of a character from a popular franchise: one has an overall vibe to it, while the other plays into a fandom. Both have their place – Star wars shoes lining my closet – but the former comes with its own essence of cool. Nike's iconic checkmark or Adidas' crown, the PlayStation logo stands on it's own.

"All the trendy." Jason Soprovich, co-founder of gaming streetwear branded Filthy Casual, stuff right now has tie-back to the '90s, "Soprovich says, adding that since the PlayStation logo has a definite' 90s energy, streetwear culture clings to it.

The PlayStation turns 25 this week, and much has changed in that time. The PlayStation console is not gray anymore, now plugged in through a USB port, and there have been multiple console upgrades to the likes of 4K and VR since the original hardware rolled out in 1994. But the one thing that's remained consistent is the nostalgia-induced warmth the original logo brings.

"The original PlayStation logo always wants that tie-in," Soprovich says. "It probably wants to go in and out in cycles, but it wants to keep coming back. The PlayStation 4 logo and the PlayStation 5 logo, they're never going to make the same kind of impact on the fashion industry. The original PlayStation logo is one-of-a-kind, and that's why people are still wearing it. "


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