Designer Barcodes Dress Up Fashion Retail

Imagine my delight when I opened the Women’s Fashion Spring 2010 issue of the New York Times Magazine and found a delightful essay by Alice Rawsthorn dedicated to the bar code, and hailing its vertical black stripes as fashion inspiration (think Givenchy).

Turns out that this graphic, iconic retail symbol (coincidentally part of Fashion Trends Daily’s logo) is — undergoing a revolution of sorts not only in the fashion world but from a Japanese design group called Design Barcode, that creates custom bar code designs for customers. Those plain vertical stripes are SO yesterday!

Samples of custom bar code shapes include: hangars, suitcases, socks, dresses, dog bones, pizzas and my personal favorite: a Japanese mawashi barcode hanging between the legs of a sumo wrestler  (see picture).

The most clever function of the barcode to date is not the symbol itself. Rather, it is the Japanese use of the word, pronounced (baa-coda), to describe the dismal, greasy comb-overs that balding businessman use to unsuccessfully hide their hair loss. After a three-year stint living in Tokyo, this is an indelible image for me. Perhaps Design Barcode could think up something to help save those poor chaps next!

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Author:Michelle Dalton Tyree

Fashion Trends Daily is the brainchild of Michelle Dalton Tyree. She is the former West Coast Retail Editor for Women’s Wear Daily, Fashion Editor for The Japan Times, and founder of former L.A. luxury boutique Iconology. Michelle is frequently quoted about fashion retail trends in major media outlets such as NPR, KPCC, The Inside Source and the New York Times. She has developed content for many luxury brands and retailers and has written for Allure, Worth Global Style Network, Footwear News and other media outlets.