Designer Phonetics: How To Pronounce Your Favorite Brands

Designer Phonetics: How To Pronounce Your Favorite Brands

Chelsie Rendon

How To Pronounce Your Favorite Brands 


Some of the most popular names in fashion don’t typically roll off the tongue and to coincide with the unique name these brands also developed iconic imagery to correlate. From Ksubi to Maison Margiela, we will be diving into some of the most notable labels in fashion and how their titles and logos have impacted the world of fashion. 


COMME DES GARÇONS (comb-day gar-son) 


Rei Kawakubo had a fixation with fashion at a young age and as she combined her youthful energy with her rebellious spirit she was able to create Comme des Garçons. Pronounced comb-day gar-son, the name means ‘like boys’ in French. Kawakubo always broke the mold when it came to fashion and introduced unconventional styles to traditional garments for women. This would later transform into a whole umbrella, where Comme des Garçons would create a category for every occasion, the most notable being Comme des Garçons PLAY. If that name doesn’t ring a bell then their logo might. Created by artist Filip Pagowski, the label includes a heart motif with piercing eyes. The little character would make its way onto the label’s clothing and footwear. Converse and Comme des Garçons PLAY highlights the heart and eye imagery on beloved sneakers for over a decade. Whether it’s the name or the inimitable heart, the Comme line from Rei Kawakubo has redefined men and womenswear since its introduction in 1969. 


KSUBI (soo-bee)


The Australian fashion label known as Ksubi was founded in 1999 by a group of friends: Gareth Moody, Dan Single, Paul Wilson, and George Gorrow. Unsatisfied with current denim construction and trends, they set out on a journey that appeased their taste but also upholds long-time wear and tear. Landing on the name Ksubi (soo-bee), the brand is well recognized around the globe as they have introduced quality designs that are applicable to all aesthetics. Alongside their quality fabrication, each pair of jeans is finished with either intricate cross-stitching or their hangtag. Inspired by the work of Basquiat, Gorrow introduced the cross motif onto each pair and it has been a part of the brand ever since. Whether it’s the name or cross logo, Ksubi has become a well-known staple in every closet and continuously releases relevant styles that are applicable to all. 


1017 ALYX 9SM (ten-seventeen-ah-leeks-nine-S-M)


Growing up in California, Matthew M. Williams was exposed to the beach lifestyles and various subcultures found within the Southern parts of the state. His curiosity introduced him to the world of fashion and the particular taste we now see in the present day. Williams is the creator of the jewelry and fashion label, 1017 ALYX 9SM, which was named after his daughter, Alyx (ah-leeks). The brand grew instantly as Williams has had ties with both Kanye West and Lady Gaga. 1017 ALYX 9SM is best known for its rollercoaster buckles and particular name. When combined we are introduced to the world of Matthew M. Williams and his industrial aesthetic. The name stands out immensely as it reminds enthusiasts of an address all while contrasting the typical names by including numbers throughout. All of his designs tend to incorporate the signature rollercoaster belt with very minimal branding. When you’re walking down the street and notice a distinct rollercoaster lock, just know it probably came from 1017 ALYX 9SM. 


SAUCONY (sock-a-knee)


Derived from the world of running, Saucony has perfected comfort with footwear as they have created iconic silhouettes. Founded in 1898, Saucony (sock-a-knee) has been devoted to their craft making them one of the most recognizable brands. Their innovative designs greatly impacted both the footwear and fashion industry. The footwear label tends to be more underground compared to Adidas and Nike but is easily recognizable by their signature logo. Inspired by the Saucony Creek in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, the logo imitates water flowing around three particular boulders. The three dots and wave shape finish can be seen on pretty much every sneaker they’ve produced. From their Grid Azura 2000 to the classic Shadow 6000, Saucony combines their name with the classic logo for a distinctive finish with each design. 


SACAI (suh-kai)


Under the watchful eye of Rei Kawakubo and Junya Watanabe, Chitose Abe flourished in the world of fashion as she worked under the greats while making her brand; Sacai. When the fashion label made its runway debut, buyers from across the globe wanted to carry Sacai (suh-kai) as Abe’s hybrid aesthetic was a fresh change to classic staples. Though their logo is their name, Chitose Abe deliberately wanted every letter lowercase with specific spacing between. As many brands opt for a bolder and in-your-face finish, Sacai stands out as it is more delicate and simplistic. Some tend to wonder where the name Sacai came from- it just so happens that it was a part of Abe all along. Sacai is a variation of her maiden name (Sakai) and instead of a ‘K’, she implemented the ‘C’ for sizing purposes. Now the name, when seen in all lower cases, is perfectly leveled. Sacai’s avant-garde styles are immensely sought-after as the brand has partnered with top labels including Nike, Ugg, KAWS, and more. 


MAISON MARGIELA (may-zaan mar-je-luh) 


Belgian designer, Martin Margiela, committed himself to design as he studied fashion at the Royal Academy of Antwerp. He excelled in his studies as he also included a distressed and deconstructive aesthetic to Belgian styles. After years of perfecting his craft, Maison Margiela  (may-zaan mar-je-luh) was born in 1988. Due to Margiela’s unconventional aesthetic, he also introduced a unique way of organizing his collections. From a range of 0 to 23, each number stands for a category which is then highlighted upon the tag of every piece produced. Wallets, hats, sweaters, and more; all of his designs include an intricately woven tag with its distinct coordinating number circled in a minimalist typeface. For a while, it was almost a mystery- but eventually, we understood its meaning, and is now a recognizable finish to Margiela’s designs.


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