The meaning behind the Kangol Logo & Brand

Back in the day I was a hip hop junky soaking in pretty much everything from the music and slang to the fashion and culture of Hip Hop and that’s when I had my first experience with the Kangol Brand.

Every rap star was wearing a hat with a little kangaroo logo on it but the most prominent display was in the Hip Hop fuelled New York City Crime movie “New Jack City”.

kangol logo
Kangol hats featured throughout the 1991 cult classic, New Jack City

This movie was like a cinematic billboard for Kangol with the hat prominently featured on all the main characters.

Several years later the brand was heavily featured in Quentin Tarantino’s movie, “Jackie Brown”; a story touching on black culture and featuring music from a pre-rap era that influenced Hip-Hop music and lifestyle.

kangol-logo
Kangol logo featured on main characters in Jackie Brown

These 1990’s movies showcased Kangols impact as an urban fashion brand during so it was pretty shocking to find out that Kangol is actually a luxury British brand created in the 1920’s!

Kangol luxury british brand
Kangol Adverts through the 1960’s

Founded by War veteran Jacques Spreiregen, Kangol originally produced hats for soldiers and golfers and after supplying the World War 2 armed forces it became the fashion industries finest brand of hats having been worn by the Beatles and Diana, Princess of Wales.

Diana & the Beatles wearing kangol
Princess Diana & the Beatles wearing Kangol hats

Kangol remained a British brand in the ’60s and ’70s but in the 1980s Hip Hop was slowly becoming a mainstream music genre with rappers like Run DMC, Slick Rick and LL Cool J growing famous in both pop and underground culture. 

Each rapper or group adopted the Kangol hat, boosting Kangol’s brand to new heights and different markets, making it a mainstream icon whilst embedding it into Hip Hop culture.

kangol logo ll cool j
The Kangol hat became synonoous with LL Cool J and Hip Hop music in general

Why the Kangaroo?

The hats were made from Silk (K), Angora (ANG) and Wool (OL), and in the 1980s Kangol decided to introduce a brand mark. It’s said that most people were asking for a “Kangaroo” hat when searching for a Kangol hat and to be honest with a name like Kangol, why not use a Kangaroo icon.

The Kangaroo mark had no real relevance to the company or it’s heritage but it just seemed like common sense to use a Kangaroo logo for a company named Kangol.

The Kangol Brand Today

Today, Kangol is like a brand divided. 

It’s still known as a British brand with a heritage of quality and exclusive hats to those who can afford it and is still a desired product by heavy hitting Hip Hop icons, pop stars and royalty for that very reason.

That is Kangols global brand image based on hats but when it comes to anything else, the Kangol brand has been watered down, particularly in the UK where it’s featured on athletic and urban wear found in discount sports stores alongside cheap, quick sale products. Down the UK high-street, Kangol is a cheap and irrelavant brand.

With such a glorious and niche history, it begs the question of why a luxury brand would half-heartedly water itself down for the high-street.

The brand positioning is misled but the Kangaroo mark is still sublime. Original, unmistakable and highly iconic especially when featured on a hat. 

kangol-logo5
The Kangol Logo

Check out Why Domino’s Pizza is named after a game and feature 3 dots in its logo.



bricks

  • blank

    I’m not so sure it’s a kangaroo or that it has no relevance.

    I think it’s actually a desert rat, this was the symbol of the British 8th Army, who were commanded by famous beret wearer, Bernard Montgomery.

    He was known for wearing a beret (supplied by Kangol) even though it wasn’t official army uniform. Thus the take up of the 8th Army badge.

Leave your comment



Subscribe for top tips on Branding, Marketing & Design

Mailchimp

Close