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BY DESIGN : Uniformly Cool : What's in a logo? Anti-status. Which is why this year's fashion rebellion borrows from blue-collar workers

March 23, 1995|ROSE-MARIE TURK

In some circles, labels aren't what they used to be.

A "Guess?" on the rear of a fashionable pair of jeans, for example, doesn't get the respect that "Pabst Blue Ribbon" or "U.S. Mail" do on the sleeve of a used, and truly serviceable, garment.

Very cool, very droll. Just ask Ely Daz, whose official title is floor person at Aaardvark's, a trendy used-clothing store in Hollywood. On many days--and nights in the underground clubs--Daz wears a blue-and-white striped shirt and becomes, from the waist up, a Pabst Blue Ribbon truck driver. Or he puts on a gas-station jacket with the sewn-on name tag Dick.

At 23, Daz is an elder among oddball-label seekers. The predominantly teen movement has evolved from bowling shirts to blue-collar uniforms. United Parcel Service and Federal Express shirts seem to hold particular appeal. And some logos, such as Exxon's, are highly prized for the companies' dubious deeds.

The bosses are not amused. They worry that someone might wear their uniforms for unlawful purposes. And just as Chanel fights to keep its name pure, so does the U.S. Postal Service, says Lizbeth Dobbins, manager of corporate identity. She predicts that interest in "U.S. Mail" will be short-lived.

Paul Kaufman of Na Na in Santa Monica, which stocks new, used and mock workwear, says the most coveted logos carry hidden messages. "STP" is a current favorite because it speaks of motor oil or the rock group Stone Temple Pilots.

But why stop at a double-entendre? SMP, a San Diego manufacturer of surf, snowboard and ski apparel, invites consumers to attach their own statements to its letters. Suggestions range from "Sex, Money and Power" to "Surf More Peaks."

So, when Motley Crue's Tommy Lee wore an SMP shirt the day he and "Baywatch's" Pamela Anderson announced their recent marriage, did it mean "Snared My Pamela"?

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