The Daily Beast recently published a scathing rant about Montreal-based lifestyle brand Plain Jane Homme, known for its irreverent, if not slightly chauvinistic, graphic tees and sweats. The precursor to the Beast's bite? That would-be clothing company's logo of a silhouetted naked woman standing with her panties around her ankles.
The seemingly suggestive blacked out logo is said to be inspired by "the ultimate gentleman." The calling card has been part of PJH merch since the 70s and in a ye olde interview with GQ, designer Hardip Manku said, "As far as the logo, I wanted to create the letter 'A' and the only way to turn a female figure into that shape was to include the panties at the base of her legs. The logo means different things to different people and people seem to either love it or hate it. It's a strong reaction, which works in our favour!"
Call it fashion trolling if you will (I will), but the Daily Beast describes the move as part of a rise in sexist fashion. The logo reeks of those seen on mud flaps by truckers, the Playboy bunny or the short-lived motif Starbucks once used of a spread-eagle mermaid. PJH is promoting a girl who drops her underwear for, as their own website touts, a man with a "sense of a refined playboy."
Responding to the criticism, an executive at Plain Jane Homme, who wished to remain nameless, told the Daily Beast that not only was the brand "feminist," but it was subverting the stereotype of the traditionally unalluring "plain Jane." He claimed the logo wasn't intentionally titillating: "It wasn't meant to be sexy, it was a kooky logo. Either you love it or you hate it, but you’ll never forget it."
Neither will we forget their other T-shirt that sports a calendar on the front with a different woman’s name under each day of the week. On the back there's a scorecard with the words, "The Numbers Don’t Lie." Does this imply a kooky form of feminism to you? Reducing women to a scorecard? Maybe it's some kind of hipster irony that we're missing, but what do you think? Is PJH's vision sexist or sassy?
Images via Plain Jane Homme