For fashion brands, and the marketing teams behind them, April 1st has long been a bit of a PR landmine. For the vast majority of the year, most are confined by a series of strict brand guidelines. Image is, as one would expect, of the utmost importance for clothing retailers and brands, to veer away from the brand’s everyday personality is to risk losing the loyalty of all the consumers who identify with it. A brand’s personality is something vehemently adhered to throughout each and every campaign – captured in every photo-shoot, maintained across all social media platforms, projected via every bus stop advertisement – and, yet, it’s allowed to fall off the rail for a single day each year.
Those who dare to dupe each April Fools imbue their brand with a sense of humour, a flair for creativity that goes beyond the cut of a dress or the detailing of a suit. They’re the ones who weren’t foolish enough to miss out some good old fun. We like that so we’ve dug up 10 of our favourite April 1st gags from over the years.
1. Thermal Ties
On the 1st April 1985, ITV claimed that a ‘thermal tie’ was being developed by the British Department of Energy. “Our research has discovered that heat loss from the body is particularly important in the front of the chest,” the report said “and this thermally insulated tie is to prevent heat loss from that part of the body.” The Department of Energy got a good telling off from a few less than humoured MPs.
2. The Glass Dress
Woven from spun glass, as soft as silk and entirely transparent, the ‘glass dress’ made an appearance at the first spring fashion show in Paris. At least that’s what German magazine Uhu reported in 1929. Costing over 40,000 francs, the dress was extremely expensive and, given the fragile nature of its material, could only be worn a handful of times. Perhaps not the wisest of purchases and yet, in its next issue, the magazine noted that a great many readers has inquired as to the manufacturer of the dress.
3. The Interfering Brasseries
“Do not adjust your set—it could be your bra!” warned an article published in the Daily Mail one April Fools. It reported that a number of bras made by a local manufacturer were causing a serious and peculiar problem. The particular kind of wire used in the bra, it said, produced static electricity when it came into contact with nylon and body heat – oops. This electricity was being emitted by thousands of unsuspecting women, causing interference to TV signal everywhere.
“Speed up the fight against flab” with a pair of FatSox reported The Daily Mail one April Fools. They revealed that American scientists had invented socks made out of a revolutionary new material capable of sucking fat out of a person’s body as they sweated. It was reported that some readers were sceptical about these ‘fat magnets’, yet interested to know more.
5. iPop Bra
Designed to help consumers keep ‘abreast of music’, a chain of stores dedicated to iPod accessories unveiled the iPop Bra. The bra incorporated a concealed pocket for the user’s iPod with control functions built into the fabric. Available in cup sizes A to F, the iPop Bra had been designed to keep the smallest of gadgets right next to ‘your biggest assets’.
6. Miracle Shirt
Running in a number of UK newspapers and magazines on April Fools, one ad announced the debut of a new odor-eliminating ‘Miracle Shirt’. Made with ‘unique microfiber technology’, as soon as the wearer began to sweat all odor was neutralised. Anyone visiting the accompanying website discovered the Miracle Shirt was an April Fools designed to promote Gillette Anti-Perspirant.
7. Diesel goes up for auction
Whether a stroke of genius or a brief loss of sanity, Diesel founder Renzo Rosso put his denim brand up for sale on eBay one April Fools. “Finally something nice on @eBay… office supplies and inventory included… an offer you can’t refuse… :-))” he tweeted, and apparently some people really couldn’t. According to Diesel, fans tried to outbid a number of potential Chinese investors. The listing was removed an hour later, with no successful bidder.
8. Open Toe Wellies
The ‘latest in product innovation’, from Wellington boot brand Hunter, the ‘open toe boot’ arrived just in time for festival season. Though similar to the original rain boot first introduced in 1955, the new boot placed a focus on breathability. “The wearer is afforded a truly ventilated experience,’ read the fictitious write up, ‘this new technology is expected to represent an industry changing moment for rubber footwear.”
9. Beard Bleaching Trend
On its men’s trend blog, ASOS published a post charting the rise in popularity of beard bleaching. For any man truly in the know, beard bleaching was looking like the next big tip. Whether it had of the bearded masses convinced is questionable but the e-tailer’s attribution to one “revolutionary Danish barber”, Alaxånder Alexandrå made their claim all the more convincing.
10. Karl Lagerfield Candies
According to Glamour magazine, a chain of New York pharmacies was reportedly selling Karl Lagerfield candy. Having a go at their own April Fools, the magazine joked that the ‘special limited-edition’ sweets were being sold alongside Versace Crème Eggs and DSquared2 Easter Bunnies. The thing about this one was that it didn’t seem all that unfeasible knowing Lagerfield’s past collaborations.