It’s impossible to know if Rei Kawakubo knew that she was creating the dynasty she had when she founded Comme des Garçons in 1973. In the nearly half a century since Comme des Garçons was founded, the Japanese luxury brand has become one of the most well-known names in the world. Over the course of the last 49 years, Kawakubo has broken down every wall and shattered every ceiling that’s been presented as an obstacle. This has been done through the diversification of Comme des Garçons with more than a handful of sub-brands, often targeting specific areas of the industry. Comme des Garçons PLAY is one of the parent brand’s more popular sub-labels and delivers Kawakubo’s Comme des Garçons vision through the lens of logo-based streetwear.
Comme des Garçons PLAY was founded as a sub-label of the larger Comme des Garçons parent company in 2002. The brand’s logo, a traditionally small red heart with two gazing eyes, has become an easily recognizable symbol of taste for those who choose to put it on. As a label, PLAY presents the less intricate, but no less important, side of Kawakubo’s vision through the medium of simple t-shirts, hoodies, sweaters and an adorable, unforgettable logo. The popular brand mark was designed in collaboration with New York artist, Filip Pagowski, who told Hypebeast that he only ever created one draft of the emblem, which ended up being used in its original form.
Rei Kawakubo’s husband, Adrian Joffe, who serves as the president of Comme des Garçons’ told Hypebeast that “the idea of PLAY is creative but playful. It was a collection, created by not designing; it was the antithesis of design, based on prototypical forms.” In the interview, Joffe gives off the impression that Kawakubo was looking to express her vision in a fresh new way and at the time, that was “for COMME des GARÇONS to do a collection that wasn’t designed, that it was only a t-shirt with one mark.” Despite its deviation from the traditionally high fashion ethos of Comme des Garçons and relative simplicity, PLAY has gone on to become emblematic of the whole organization. At its most popular, the PLAY logo was sought after with the fervor of a Supreme Box Logo or a BAPE Shark Hoodie. Now, it’s the easiest way to identify the brand as a whole, making it an easy entry point into Kawakubo and Joffe’s ever-expanding world of Comme des Garçons.
What is the meaning of Comme des Garçons?
In its purest translation, Comme des Garçons means “like some boys”. The phrase, which has of course become the name of the Rei Kawakubo-founded brand, was taken from the 1962 song “Tous les Garçons et les Filles” by French recording artist Françoise Hardy. The specific lyric that the phrase was pulled from is “Comme les garçons et les filles de mon âge” which translates to “like boys and girls my age”.
What is the Comme des Garçons PLAY Logo?
The Comme des Garçons PLAY Logo is known as the Red Heart Logo or Red Heart Emblem and features an illustration of a little red heart with two eyes. The logo appears in different shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns on most, if not all, pieces from the apparel brand. The most traditional form of the PLAY logo is a small red heart with black and white eyes embroidered to the chest of a T-shirt, hoodie, or sweatshirt.
Does PLAY offer unisex apparel?
Comme des Garçons PLAY offers most of their styles in men’s, women’s, and children’s sizing and has since the sub-label’s inception. Unlike other popular logo-focused streetwear brands, PLAY has made their inclusive offering a focal point of the brand. When Comme des Garçons was originally founded, it was founded as a fashion label that sold exclusively women’s apparel and did not deliver a men’s offering until 1978. Since then, the brand has made it a priority to make the Comme des Garçons vision accessible to everyone. It should be noted that men’s, women’s, and children’s PLAY apparel generally fits small and those looking to purchase something from the brand would be wise to size up by one size.
Comme des Garçons PLAY x Converse
Even though the collaboration between Comme des Garçons PLAY and Converse didn’t start until seven years after PLAY was launched, the partnership has become one of the most recognizable instances of the Little Red Heart Logo. Comme des Garçons PLAY and Converse began their partnership in 2009, delivering two colors of a Chuck Taylor All Star model with the logo featured prominently toward the heel of the shoe. Since 2009, the two brands have consistently continued their collaboration, delivering different versions of the All Star that feature the PLAY logo in different colors and orientations. The most popular version of this shoe features the traditional Red Heart logo situated so that it’s just barely peeking over the midsole of the sneaker.
How is PLAY different from other brands under the parent company?
In terms of both price and volume, PLAY is among the most accessible of the brands under the Comme des Garçons umbrella. Each other brand under the parent’s company serves as an expression of Kawakubo and her team of designers in different markets and categories. Comme des Garçons is the brand in its original form, delivering womenswear on the runway each season. Comme des Garçons Homme is the brand’s original menswear offering, though there are now several more in Comme des Garçons Homme Plus and Homme Deux. For Comme des Garçons Shirt, Kawakubo centers her creativity on just one piece, the shirt, stretching its bounds through deconstruction and reconstruction. The brand’s Junya Watanabe and Ganryu labels serve as outlets for two of the brand’s most significant designers to find their own agency. Ultimately, each division of the Comme des Garçons family is branching off into some kind of new creative endeavor, of which PLAY is one of the most popular and iconic.
Shop the most popular pieces from Comme des Garçons PLAY below and shop the rest of StockX’s catalog here.