“Meem”, “Mem”, “Meh-Meh”…however you’re meant to pronounce it, one thing is for sure: the cultural phenomenon that is the internet meme is here to stay.
Though often perceived as millennial slang, the word ‘meme’ actually has a very long-established definition. Originating from the Greek mimēma ‘that which is imitated’, and described in the Oxford Dictionary as ‘an element of a culture or system of behaviour passed from one individual to another by imitation’, the word has since taken on a modern spin and ascended the internet throne – simply type in ‘famous memes’ on Google, and the scrolling is infinite.
Today, the digital world recognises a ‘meme’ as ‘an image, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature’ that is copied and spread like wildfire by Internet users (who many argue have too much time on their hands). Whether you’ve seen a meme floating around on Twitter or you’ve been incessantly tagged on Instagram, they are somewhat inescapable.
In fact, memes have become so firmly entrenched in pop culture that even the most unexpected demographic has embraced the curious phenomenon: high fashion.
In an era where the Internet reigns supreme in the lives of the young adults, Italian luxury brand Gucci’s risky marketing move has been the talk of the World Wide Web. Observing the growing power of the meme, the fashion house decided to take matters into their own hands — with their very own line of “couture memes”. Gucci’s #TFWGucci campaign (which stands for “that feeling when…,”) boasts a collection of images that feature Gucci products accompanied with witty image and caption combinations.
In true fashion, Gucci’s memes reflect their runway collections — bold, imaginative and wonderfully aesthetic. They signify a nearly 100-year-old brand daring to embrace internet culture; striking a balance between heritage and innovation. For Gucci’s campaign, the biggest trend isn’t a statement stripe or 80s silhouettes, but rather a well-designed meme that captivates and stirs discussion. Since its inception, the fashion powerhouse’s punchy digital strategy has translated into a 25% increase in sales in just two years. Now that’s impressive.
So, whether you’re this negative nancy:
Those Gucci memes make me want to kill myself
— Morgan Hill (@Morganfhill) March 23, 2017
Or this all caps enthusiast:
THE ENTIRE GUCCI INSTAGRAM PAGE IS FILLED WITH GUCCI MEMES THIS IS MY DREAM
— ally (@glossirene) March 23, 2017
There’s no doubt that, as a luxury brand, Gucci has placed themselves at the forefront of modern communications; effortlessly cool in their execution, down with the kids but not in an unbearably corny way. They’ve seamlessly tapped into the sharp, ironic and funny spirit of one of the most pop-culture phenomenon of our time.
Now, if only we had £3000 to drop on a handbag…