Here is a mid-day, mid-week post for all of the academics among us, who are struggling through final exams (whether you are taking them, grading them or even just hearing about them). It is almost over. And remember, The Fashion Law loves you ...
True Religion has been successful in fighting counterfeiters in court in the past, and they are at it again! The California-based denim company (along with its co., Guru Denim) filed suit in Chicago's United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois yesterday against one hundred unnamed defendants for trademark infringement, stemming from the sale of fake True Religions on internet sites. Their complaint cites the company's sixteen federally registered trademarks, and goes on the claim that the defendants' websites are designed to specifically mislead consumers into believing that their are purchasing authentic True Religion products, which are actually inferior quality counterfeits.
The complaint goes on to allege: "Defendants further perpetuate the illusion of legitimacy by offering “live 24/7”customer service and fraudulently using indicia of authenticity and security that consumers have come to associate with authorized retailers, including the McAfee Security, VeriSign, Visa, MasterCard and PayPal." And that's not all ... the defendants activity :"is causing and has caused confusion, mistake and deception by and among consumers and is irreparably harming True Religion." So, what does True Religion want? For the trademark infringement and counterfeiting, false designation of origin, violation of Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, the company wants all profits the defendants earned from their sale of "True Religion" products and damages for the infringement of the trademarks. If they can't get that, True Religion will settle for "$2,000,000 for each and every use of the TRUE RELIGION Trademarks and $100,000 per domain name." Plus, an injunction and all of the regular stuff involved, such as the domain names themselves.
Industry insiders are reporting that Rachel Zoe's namesake clothing collection may be on its way out. No shortage of unsold pieces are reportedly being sold by discount retailers and her line was been pulled from the floor at Saks Fifth Avenue recently and from Selfridges, which stopped selling her clothing in September. One fashion blogger found this news "disheartening," and that, I couldn't disagree with more. I love Rachel Zoe's persona, personal style, and the impact she's had on fashion, but guess what, having your own clothing collection is not a right. It's a privilege.
While it may seem that having a clothing line is a right of passage for celebs that have absolutely no design training, it shouldn't be. However, to be fair, very few of the "designers" to follow actually design the pieces themselves: Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson, every single one of the Kardashians, Nicole Richie, Snooki from the Jersey Shore, Gwen Stefani, the entire cast of The Hills and Laguna Beach, Madonna, Kanye. I could go on for an hour or five, but you get the point.
Zoe's less-than-stellar sales are just a reminder of the fact that just because you have a hit TV show, movie, album, etc. (and can dress other people, in Zoe's case), does not mean you can or even should have a clothing line. There are so many talented young and established designers, who have gone to design school, interned, and who continually put all of their resources and energy into their collections. Leave it to them! I mean, I think I'm smart, but that doesn't mean I think I should try performing spine surgery. So, celebs: Starting in 2013, leave fashion design to the fashion designers, please. The Olsen twins are an exception!
Cambridge Satchels are one of the hottest bags to copy and so, we knew it would only be a matter of time before another brand decided it would be a good idea to manufacture a lookalike. That brand is Dr. Martens. The company, which collaborated with Cambridge Satchel not too long ago, is now featuring a studded version. Turns out, Cambridge Satchel has a studded version in the works but Dr. Marten beat them to stores. Suspicious! However, unlike the CS, which is handmade at the company's factory in Britain, Martens' version is made in Thailand, and it is far from handmade!
Cambridge Satchel (left) & Dr. Martens (right)
Now go ahead and make the inevitable argument that "a satchel is a satchel" and Doc Martens is not doing anything wrong. There is no denying that the satchel is a classic design, but to say that Cambridge Satchel is doing little more than recreating a classic design, devoid of any added creativity, is just inaccurate. The CS Company turned an otherwise dated design into one that is youthful and fashionable, and in case you didn't know, extremely well-made and in-demand. And fluorescent satchels definitely didn't exist prior to Cambridge Satchel.
With this in mind, there is a big difference between inspiration and imitation, and I don't see much inspiration in Martens' version. Take Phillip Lim for instance, his Pashli Satchel, has largely the same features as the two satchels above and also has very similar dimensions. Yet, Lim's looks quite different, likely because he took inspiration from the classic satchel, and didn't copy it directly. I'm pretty sure Dr. Martens can't say the same. Shop the real thing here, and if you're in London, the CS Covent Garden pop-up shop is open!
We have certainly been seeing quite a few parody t-shirts as of late. Laura and Kate Mulleavey's Radarte collection, is a fairly rare exception as it is the designers own play on their collection's name (Rodarte). The more common occurrence is brands using other brands names/logos. Some of the latest: This is Not New's Murder Paris tee, Reason's Celine Dion and Homies Paris tees, and Fresh Goods' Nada but a G Thing tee (see them below). Some feel a bit more like parody than others. So, with design houses being notoriously picky about how others use their names and trademarks, where do we draw the line between "permissible trademark infringement" aka parody and plain trademark infringement, when there isn't a clear rule?
I'm not claiming to know the answer here, especially because holdings regarding the fair use defense to trademark infringement, under which parody is commonly examined, are largely decided on a case by case basis. (See fair use discussed here.) The Copyright Act sets out four factors for courts to consider when determining how to rule on fair use defenses, but even then, there is still not a bright line rule. We do have some case law to help us. To think of some recent cases: Louis Vuitton legal absolutely despises parodies of any kind, and so, its no surprise that they didn't approve of the University of Pennsylvania law school's parody of its logo, and similarly Hermes notoriously took down Thursday Friday for its parody of the Birkin bag. While the level of creativity that needs to be present in a parody to safely constitute fair use is far from crystal clear, a few things are obvious from the cases. A parody must generally be distinctive enough to ensure that consumers will not assume the original trademark owner has connected with or approved the parody. Secondly, a parody must be clever enough to avoid dilution of “famous” marks. Lastly, you should probably avoid ever parodying Louis Vuitton. So, proceed with care parody artists, this is a fine line to walk!
Andrej Pejic channeled Andy Warhol in a spread for DuJour Magazine. In the Tony Kim shoot, which was inspired by NARS’ new Andy Warhol makeup collection, Andrej poses as Chelsea Girls Edie Sedgwick, Candy Darling, Nico, and Andy Warhol himself. Former Factory regular Glenn O’Brien penned the intro. saying: “Andy would have taken one look at Andrej and said, “What a beauty? Isn’t he a real beauty? We should make a movie. Would you like to be in a movie? I think you’d be so great.” A Warhol movie starring Andrej Pejic? Thoughts?
The Kardashians Are Sick Of Being Accused Of Trademark Infringement. That is the title of a recent Business Insider article that basically summed up what we already told you about the Kardashians' latest legal woe, their Khroma beauty venture. I still cannot get over the article's title, though. The Kardashians are sick of the trademark drama that they cause every time they release a new product without researching the trademarks that have already been federally registered? Can you imagine how the trademark owners feel? Well, you actually don't have to image, I can sum it up for you. Michael Rey, co-owner of the Chroma Makeup studio in Los Angeles said the reality stars' cosmetics collection "cheapens" his line and "creates confusion in the marketplace." He even says that his customers are sure to be "embarrassed" to say they wear Chroma because of the possible confusion with the Kardashian brand. And that's just one example of Kardashian-induced lawsuit. There are so many!
Rachel Zoe: Just Another Celebrity Line: Another reason why celebs should stick to acting, singing, styling etc. and leave design to the experts! And remember, a clothing line is a coveted privilege, not a right of fame.
Dear Kanye, You're Being Knocked-Off: It seems while Kanye was busy globe-trottiing with a Kardashian and wearing a leather skirt on national television, his "Yeezi" necklace was being knocked off!
Fast Fashion to go Green, Ignores Issues: Some of the world's biggest retailers are making efforts to reduce their impact on the environment, but are they still ignoring more important issues? We think so.
I've been meaning to share our Saturday Style Feature with you for some time now. It's Dianna Lunt, the Deputy Fashion Editor at City Magazine. She's also a NYC-based freelance stylist. Not much needs to be said about her or her Fall/Winter style, except that she is pretty androgynous and simultaneously, quite charming. Enjoy ...
Today's TFL MAN post is photographer Harley Weir, who is not actually a man at all. However, Harley is a seriously talented photographer, who has shot some of our favorite TFL MEN: Yuri Pleskun, James Smith, Sacha Mbaye, Erik Anderson and others. Hence, her feature on a TFL MAN post. The 24-year-old, London-born, Berlin-based Weir's work can be found pretty regularly in i-D, Wonderland, Metal, AnOther, Citizen K, Australian Vogue, and Dazed and Confused, among other magazines. She also shoots women, but we will save that for another, more appropriately-titled post! More on Harley to come ...
As you may know, editor chic is one of our favorite styles and, our Sunday Style Feature, Barbara Martelo, is just that! Madrid-born Martelo works primarily with Spanish Vogue and Vanity Fair, but she actually started her career in the legal department at Zara's parent company, Inditex, after graduating from law school. Of her effortlessly chic Fall/Winter style, Martelo says her musts are: Black crusader boots, a knit dress, a leather blazer, grey skinny jeans, and a leather biker jacket.
You have spoken, TFL readers! The votes are in and the top looks from our weekly emerging designer poll: actress Emma Stone in Daniel Vosovic Spring 2013 and model Elettra Weidemann in Cushnie et Ochs Fall 2012! Up this week Erdem, A.L.C., Rodarte and more. See all of this week's emerging design looks below and be sure to cast your vote ...
The LUST Bracelet: It is up for debate whether it is a genius take on the Cartier Love Bracelet or if it is little more than a trademark infringement ploy to attract those who want the Cartier screw motif on their wrists. The bracelet has been on the market since this past summer, and according to the website that sells this bracelet and this bracelet alone, "the LUST bracelet is the symbol of genuine lust and desire, and an emblem of style."
It may be safe to say that this bracelet is more genius than dangerous based largely on its price: $25. The likelihood than anyone would be confused between the Cartier Love Bracelet, which is available in platinum and gold (yellow, rose and white) costs upwards of $5,000, and the 100% silicon black LUST bracelet, is quite low. However, as the bracelet grows in notoriety, we'll see if Cartier takes this one to court. The French design house does have a federally registered trademark in the U.S. on its "screw motif" ...
You may have forgotten that designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana were indicted in 2010 by Italian officials for tax evasion. Well, just this past week, Judge Antonella Brambilla rejected their counsel, Massimo Dinoia's objections, which sought to dismiss the tax-evasion charges, and the designer duo is set to start trial after the new year. So, what are the Italian designers up against? Accusations that they along, with several business associates, failed to pay about $540 million in taxes stemming from the sale of the Dolce & Gabbana brand in 2004.
Following a lower court's ruling in 2011, dismissing the charges, it appeared that the designers were off the hook. However, not long after, the Italian Supreme Court overturned that ruling, and as of now, prosecutor Gaetano Ruta has lined up 15 witnesses to testify in the trial. The designers and the other defendants could also be questioned during the trial, but they are not obliged to and can delegate their lawyers. They probably will, considering none of the defendants attended either hearing.
You may have noticed that Stuart Weitzman's brand has been taking a notably high fashion turn over the past few years. First it was Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova clad in Weitzman shoes and not much else, and now, the latest ad campaign starring Kate Moss is no exception to the designer's new aesthetic. For the die-hard Weitzman fans out there, you can rest assured that the SW look may be evolving but the shoes themselves are still 100% Weitzman. The designer spoke to this exact point following the release of the Spring 2013 ad campaign. He told NY Magazine: "I also refuse to sacrifice comfort and practicality. I still pay tremendous attention to the way our shoes feel, and as long as we can hang on to that we will always have a wonderful business with women who need practical footwear." See more images from the campaign below ...
Ever the smart business man, Weitzman thinks the brand's sexier image has "strengthened a growing customer base ... We've always had the kinds of shoes that you see in the ads. We’re just showing them off more now." He's been in business of over two decades, and so, he knows a thing or two about branding! As for Moss, who Weitzman calls a "very nice girl," he hopes to keep her on board for at least a couple more seasons. She seems to be quite fitting for the SW brand. Don't you think so?
Finally! Racked has featured our girls, Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs' brand, Cushnie et Ochs, in their fashion phonetics series. So, if you're not quite sure how to pronounce their company name, watch the video below. (Mom, click "CLICK HERE, THERE'S MORE" and watch this!)
Charlie France usually doesn't not have to compete for the spotlight in ad campaigns that he stars in but Burberry's Spring 2013 ad campaign may be an exception. No, I'm not referring to fellow model Edie Campbell, but 10 year old Romeo Beckham. The spawn of David and Victoria made his modeling debut and I have a feeling this is just the first of many ad campaigns to come. If he doesn't make you want to buy Burberry, I'm not sure anything or anyone will! See the video below ...
It brings me SO much joy to tell you that two of my favorite emerging designers Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs join the likes of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Joseph Altuzarra and Alexander Wang on Forbes' annual 30 under 30 list in the Style and Design category. Also on the list up-and-coming accessories designer Reece Solomon of Reece Hudson, womenswear designers Sally LaPointe and Katie Ermilio, 22-year old designer Pedro Lourenço and the Man Repeller herself, Leandra Medine. Placement on this list means these are some of the most interesting, creative, intelligent people in their industry. See their pictures below ...
Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen (as if they need a caption)