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The Official Page of The Fashion Law.

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    Last month, London continued to show menswear as a stand alone event, separate from the season's womenswear shows. This much like Paris and Milan, but unlike New York, which still shows menswear and womenswear collections together twice a year. This is addressed in Gangs of New York, a recent piece by Colin Chapman for UK publication, the Guardian, which shed light on some of NYC's finest mens labels. As for the brands mentioned, we were quite pleased. Chapman took notice (from across the pond) of some of our favs: Public School, Rochambeau (pictured below), Siki Im, General Idea, and Duckie Brown. Here's a bit about each of these brands, because they are worth knowing about. 


    Public School: Design duo Maxwell Osbourne and Dao-Yo Chow have garnered a significant following for their menswear-meets-streetwear take on fashion. Technically advanced pieces are combined with draping for the ultimate in cool, wearable fashion, and has recently won them the CFDA x Swarovski Award for best emerging menswear brand. As we've said before Osbourne and Chow have adeptly taken their original downtown NYC aesthetic and applied it very organically to a number of different mediums, including their most recent project: denim. Also not to be missed: the incredible styling of their pieces.


    Rochambeau: Laurence Chandler and Joshua Cooper have been making waves in the American fashion industry since Rochambeau's (French for the game rock-paper-scissors) debut in 2008. With heavy use of juxtaposition and deconstruction, thir self-proclaimed "progressive menswear label from New York City" has become a staple at the coolest boutiques worldwide, such as OAK and OKII-NI, as well as ages-old retail institutions like Harvey Nichols. The duo says they look to designers like Damir Doma and Anne Demeulemeester in Europe and Siki Im and Rad Hourani in New York.



    Siki Im: Architect, Siki Im, traded in his formal training for a chance to work at Helmut Lang, and thankfully, hasn't looked back since. Translating high concept into functional, appealing apparel, Im uses the finest materials (think: American-made denim and specialty fabrics from mills in Japan and Italy). The designer's namesake collection features juxtaposed feminine-inspired silhouettes with a dash of utilitarianism, and is founded on strong tailoring, reinterpretation, and subtle excellence.


    General Idea: Korean-born designer Bumsuk Choi is slowly but very steadily becoming a name-to-know in mens fashion. With a collection that consistently includes utilitarian details with innovative silhouettes, elegant outerwear, and a practice in proportions, Choi is one of the most promising forces in New York fashion that we've seen in quite awhile. Also worth noting: his use of color, expert sense of layering and the prints - namely, the camo he showed for Spring 2013.


    Duckie Brown: A brand that doesn't need much of an introduction or explanation, Duckie Brown was founded in 2001 by Steven Cox and Daniel Silver. To give you an idea of how much progress the brand has made since then, in 2007, the deign duo was nominated by the Council of Fashion Designers of America for its Menswear Designer of the Year award, alongside industry giants Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein.

    images courtesy of glamourai, tom & lorenzo, gq, models.com

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    image courtesy of zara

    On Monday, a coalition of trade unions and clothing retailers agreed to a legally binding plan established as a result of the joint efforts among the Government of Bangladesh, the European Union and the International Labour Organisation. The 75 signatories agree to allow the inspection of  garment supply factories in Bangladesh within nine months and guarantee that in every case where unsafe conditions are found, funds will be made available for necessary safety upgrades. The signatories have also agreed to make public by 15 July a list of more than 1,000 names and addresses of Bangladeshi factories they use. While the vast majority of the signatories are European retailers, such as H&M, Primark, Zara's parent company Inditex and Joe Fresh, three US companies have signed on to the accord, which follows a year of tragedies all linked to Bangladesh's garment industry: Scoop NYC, Zac Posen (who manufactures in Bangladesh?), Abercrombie and Fitch, PVH, the parent company of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, and Sean John (because yes, Sean John still exists). 

    I know we should be thankful for the retailers that have agreed to sign on to the legally binding accord, but I can't help but notice that Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, and Topshop (and its parent company, the Arcadia Group), some of the biggest supporters of fast fashion and design piracy, aren't on the list. Hardly surprising, Forever 21 has been the subject of Department of Labor investigations for its operation in the U.S., and so, the likelihood of the Los Angeles-based fast fashion giant (worth a report $1.40 billion as of 2011) joining is extremely slim. 

    While American firms are reportedly reluctant to join any industry accord that creates legally binding objectives, leading North American retailers came together today to announce details of a rival plan: the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a binding five-year worker, fire and factory safety pact that will provide a minimum of $42 million in funds to improve factory safety conditions in Bangladesh and train workers and factory owners. As for who signed onto that: Wal-Mart, Target, the Gap, VF Corp., Macy’s, Nordstrom Inc., and The Jones Group, among others. Not on the list: Forever 21 or Urban Outfitters. We are far from surprised! Because doing the right thing would just be too ethical of them! 

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    Remember when Charles Philip Pozzi sued The Gap for its like-named (the "Phillip slipper") and similar-looking version of Pozzi's staple slipper. The designer, who stocks at Saks, Shopbop, and Intermix, etc., filed suit in the Central District of California court in Los Angeles in November for: trademark, trade dress and patent infringement, unfair competition, trademark dilution, right of publicity, false description of facts, and other related causes of action. The brand was asking for an injunction and damages. Basically, they wanted the Gap to stop selling the lookalikes immediately and for good, and to compensate them for lost profits. And as of yesterday, the parties have settled the case, as indicated by the motion to dismiss that Pozzi filed. I wonder how much The Gap paid up to make the lawsuit go away ... 


    Charles Philip Shanghai slippers (left) & the Gap's version (right)

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    This year's CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists have been announced! The judging panel, which includes Anna Wintour, CFDA president DVF, and Jenna Lyons (Executive Creative Director at J. Crew), and among others, announced their ten choices. This year's group joins the ranks of Alexander Wang, Proenza Schouler, Prabal Gurung, Joseph Altuzarra, Cushnie et Ochs, and the other super-successful brands that have taken part in this endowment dedicated to supporting the next generation of American design talent. See the entire list of this year's finalists below ... 


    Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, Public School

    Jason Jones and Mike Feldman, Parabellum

    Juan Carlos Obando, Juan Carlos Obando

    Marc Alary, Marc Alary

    Misha Nonoo, Nonoo

    Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin, TOME

    Shimon Ovadia and Ariel Ovadia, Ovadia & Sons

    Tim Coppens, Tim Coppens

    Todd Snyder, Todd Snyder

    Veronica Swanson Beard and Veronica Miele Beard, Veronica Beard

    images courtesy of cfda

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    Urban Outfitters and its sister brand, Anthropologie, are facing a possible class action lawsuit for collecting customer zip codes. Plaintiffs Whitney Hancock and Jamie White filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia last month, alleging that they were asked for their zip codes upon making purchases at Urban Outfitters and Anthropolgy “under the guise that [such info] is required to make a purchase with a credit card." Turns out, the complaint claims that "ZIP codes are not required when using a credit card. To the contrary, District of Columbia law forbids retailers from requesting or collecting such Consumer Identification Information during credit-card transactions." Hancock and White further allege thatUrban Outfitters and Anthropologie use customers’ zip codes for their own “pecuniary benefit,” including engaging in direct marketing campaigns without customers’ permission, as "once a retailer has a customer’s name (indicated on the credit card), and his or her ZIP code, it can determine their address." 

    image courtesy of anthropologie

    Hancock and White are seeking class action certification (which would enable a larger pool of Urban Outfitters and Anthrologie shoppers to join the lawsuit); statutory damages of $500 to each member of the class; up to  $1,500 in statutory treble damages for each violation of the District law during the class period; permanent prevention from the defendants from requesting and collecting zip codes when customers choose to pay with a credit card; and “reasonable” attorneys fees and costs.


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    Kleinfeld Bridal Corp., the owner of the famed NYC bridal store, filed suit in the Supreme Court of the State of New York this week, seeking a ruling that it can legally fire Los Angeles-based designer, Mark Zunino. According to Kleinfeld's complaint, it hired Mark Zunino as “creative design director” last year. Zunino allegedly agreed to work exclusively with Kleinfeld, but subsequently began designing designing discount dresses for sale on QVC under the label, Nolan Miller Inc. Explicit in Zunino's five-year contract with Klenfeld, which agreed to pay him $175,000 for the first year and $200,000 a year thereafter: a clause holding that Zunino would “not engage in any design activities that would conflict or compete" during his tenure with Kleinfeld.

    image courtesy of nytimes

    In its complaint the bridal store, which is featured on reality television show, Say Yes to the Dress, Zunino “cannot devote his full efforts to designing wedding gowns, related bridal apparel and jewelry exclusively for Kleinfeld and, at the same time, perform the same services for Nolan Miller." The court will likely consider the validity of the active non-compete clause and determine whether there is a breach of contract claim here, which it appears there most likely is. 

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    Casting director, Preston Chaunsumlit's name may not ring a bell for you, but chances are you've seen him or his work by now. After moving to NYC to study film, Chaunsumlit more or less stumbled onto casting by setting up a photographer with a model he knew. Since then, in addition to casting for the likes of DIS Magazine, Metal, Numero, and Details magazines, among others, Chaunsumlit is the star of Model Files, a mockumentary web series about his life as a model casting director. We caught up with the man about SoSo to talk about the lack of diversity in the modeling industry, taking selfies with tweens, #CHINA$$, and more ... 



    The Fashion Law  Tell me a little bit about yourself and your brand, since business, now is much about branding. 

    Preston Chaunsumlit  I do model casting. I play myself in a reality webseries about fashion called Model Files. In terms of branding, Model Files started out as a series of promotional video shorts for the launch of VFiles, the internet’s first online social networking site dedicated to fashion. By introducing characters, like myself, through original online content, VFiles was able to create an online following of participating users. 

    I think there was an audience of people online who loved fashion, but didn’t live in a major city, work in the industry, or could care less about the same fashion personas, all in the same magazines. All. The. Time. It’s a culture that is online, probably on their smartphone, on tumblr and twitter, etc. I think what makes what I do different is the point of view and access. We welcome it. Model Files/VFiles is as much about fashion as it is about Internet culture.

    The Fashion Law  A lot of people know you from Model Files. How did that project come about? It has been received quite well. Do you feel like a celeb?

    Preston Chaunsumlit  The editorial team at VFiles asked if I could come in and visit their new office in SoSo. They are the same editors who founded DISmagazine.com, who I worked with previously and love. I had no idea what they had in mind when I stopped by, but it seemed experimental enough. They wanted to shadow me for NYFW castings, and introduce a realistic portrayal of an industry that quite often times, presents itself in the worst ways.

    I hope the show has been received well! I am not sure how well fashion has received it, but like I said before ... it’s experimental enough. I do not feel like celebrity, but some things have changed. People are nicer to me? A lot of tweens ask if they can take selfies with me now.

    The Fashion Law  What are some of your observations of the modeling industry? What do you look for, in general, when you’re casting?

    Preston Chaunsumlit  As with other industries, things have gotten so much faster, saturated, and transparent because of the internet/technology, globalisation, celebrity culture, terrorism, and economic distress. This was all happening when I got into casting. It was a strange time and definitely affected the type of models that would be in demand: pale, pubescent, robotic drones from Eastern Europe. It took me awhile to understand it. As cliche as it sounds, I look for professionalism and personality. Every model is different (though they are roughly the same size). I like these differences.


    The Fashion Law  There has been an increase in awareness about the downsides of the modeling industry as of late. Do you think conditions for models are getting better?

    Preston Chaunsumlit  I hope conditions are getting better. There has been a lot of attention brought to this topic, but as we all know, attention is pointless unless you get results. I love what the Model Alliance is doing. Kudos to them for getting that child model bill passed, making it harder to book underaged models. I think once we start hiring adults, things will get better with time. It is an industry that objectifies and commodifies bodies, but it takes a creepy turn when you have no choice but to exploit a child’s body and her labor because it is “standard.”

    The Fashion Law  I know you have some strong thoughts on diversity in the modeling industry. Can you tell me a bit about that?

    Preston Chaunsumlit  My problem with the lack of diversity in casting is WHY NO ONE has been able to explain it. Designers blame the agents. Agents blame the clients. Ugh, and the “postracial” argument. Bullshit. 

    We live in a racialized world. We work in a market whose consumer dollars are coming from a racialized consumer. It is about bottom lines and money. It is simply safer to book a white girl, because in the West, white is considered standard and even “aspirational.” Anything off from that carries an otherness or a “distraction.” I think fashion is not responsible for this, but is a product of it. Fashion might be encouraging it, but it is something deeper and more ingrained in our society. 

    I hate to say it, but people do not find someone that reminds them of their maid/nanny/gardener/misc. hired help/colonised person/criminal/savage/slave/etc. (in their minds, a person of color) as aspirational. This is why it is important to have diversity in model casting. Images that aren’t as myopic as the idiots we are trying to sell to. The reasons I mentioned previously about the Eastern European drones goes hand in hand with the lack of racial diversity, the exploitation of underaged models, and questionable working conditions. 

    Hopefully in the future, we will have more models of color in demand for magazines like Numero, and not have to paint a white model black and name the story “African Queen.” (Ondria Hardin, if you are reading this, I do not fault you, but if not the editors, wasn’t there someone onset that thought it might be a bad idea?) Saying that, recently the rise of the Asian model has been exciting, obviously due to #CHINA$$.


    The Fashion Law  Who are some of the models you love right now?

    Preston Chaunsumlit  Seasons will change. Some will be memorable, some not. Most will never be seen again. I like new faces. There are many surprises and breakout stars every season and there are the ones who slowly become established. I like to follow the underdogs and the comeback kids.

    The Fashion Law  What have you learned about the business of fashion from your work?

    Preston Chaunsumlit  It is just like any other industry, just cycles faster. I learned how to communicate better and how to deal with varying types of people. These are things I can apply outside of the business of fashion. I can deal with assholes really well now. :) Also, things like intern abuse, exploitation, non-regulation, etc. is pretty prevalent in the business of fashion.

    The Fashion Law  What is one of the biggest struggles you are dealing with professionally that you are dealing with right now?

    Preston Chaunsumlit  Professionally, I feel it is important to challenge myself. That is part of the reason I decided to collaborate with VFiles. It was something that definitely took me out of my comfort zone. Creatively, it has been challenging.
    Let’s be honest.
    Model casting is like video games.
    Fun to do.
    Boring to watch.

    The Fashion Law  What are you currently working on?

    Preston Chaunsumlit  Just doing a few editorials and a project I am not allowed to talk about just yet. #Summerishere so I need to get out of town!

    images courtesy of le21eme, vfiles & buzzfeed

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    Don't let a name fool you. Chanel West Coast is not a reference to the Paris-based luxury design house's California locations, such as its Rodeo Drive shop. It is the name of an American rapper and model, and it is yet another example of the constant battle that luxury brands face, as the owners of established and highly appealing (to customers and others trying to establish brands and products) trademarks. A little research about Chanel West Coast filled me in on the fact that Chanel is the singer's middle name because that was her "mom's favorite perfume." I also learned that she has songs entitled "Eat my cookie," "I love money" and "I don't give a f*ck." A bit of a far cry from quilted jackets and timeless elegance. This reminds me of Gucci v. Gucci Mane, the trademark lawsuit that has yet to happen


    Chanel (the brand) does not have a federally registered trademark in classes relating to music, but that doesn't mean that it lacks grounds to sue the similarly-named rapper. Trademark dilution gives the owner of a famous trademark standing to forbid others from using that mark in a way that would lessen its uniqueness. It seems like dilution could technically apply here but may not end up being a successful claim for the design house. In short, while Chanel undeniably has a famous mark by the standards of the Federal Trademark Dilution Act, I think it would be a stretch to say that the brand is being tarnished or that trademark blurring (when the power of the famous mark is weakened through its identification with dissimilar goods) is occurring, as West Coast Chanel is tiny in terms of influence and relevance in comparison to the truly iconic design house. Thus, it seems like it could be a waste of time (and money) for Chanel to bring such a claim. 

    If Karl Lagerfeld wanted to do anything, he could probably sue the rapper (pictured below) for misappropriating his likeness in latest her music video (her most recent song is called Karl and she dresses up like Lagerfeld in the music video), but even that is likely more trouble than its worth. Considering I doubt that the vast majority of recurring Chanel customers even know who the like-named rapper is. 

    images courtesy of tfs & pheed

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    For this #TBT, here's one of the projects were are extremely proud of. This piece was originally posted a year ago exactly, and was a victory not only for us but for original design talent in the U.S., such as a brand we LOVE Cushnie et Ochs (which you can shop at Bergdorfs and Shopbop) ...  

    Cushnie et Ochs, an emerging NYC design duo, is entangled in one of the most blatant cases of design piracy we've seen in a long time! Thai label, Jaspal, has teamed up with NYC-based emerging designer, Nuj Novakhett, for a Pre-Fall 2012 capsule collection that looks disturbingly similar to a couple of Cushnie et Ochs' designs. We couldn't even give Jaspal and Novakhett the benefit of the doubt and entertain the thought of independent creation, because not only did they copy Cushnie et Ochs' designs, they copied the label's S/S 2012 look book! Sure, Novakhett changed the colors of the dresses and Jaspal enlarged the triangles in the background, but if the over look and feel of collection is not a dead-ringer for Cushnie et Ochs, nothing is! Have a look ...

    Novakhett for Jaspal (left) & Cushnie et Ochs F/W 2012 (right)

    Novakhett for Jaspal (left) & Cushnie et Ochs S/S 2012 (right)

    Jaspal posted the pictures of it's "Special Collection" with Novakhett to its Facebook page last week. Cushnie et Ochs showed their F/W 2012 collection this past February during NY Fashion Week and their S/S 2012 collection at Fashion Week in September of 2011. According to Jaspal's site, they opened their first boutique in 1972 and aim to deliver high fashion ready-to-wear clothing to consumers at affordable prices. As for Novakhett, she launched her collection in 2006 and supposedly has a slew of celebrity fans including Jennifer Aniston, Heidi Klum, Helena Christensen, Chloë Sevigny and Kim Kardashian. The design piracy needs to stop! We have reached out to Jaspal and Novakhett and are awaiting a responses. [Update: within a week, Jaspal removed all copies from its website and stores.]



    images courtesy Jaspal facebook and style.com

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    BREAKING: Opening Ceremony abandoned their usual so-ugly-it’s-cool aesthetic for Spring/Summer 2014 and instead, went for a just-original-enough-to-not-be-blatant-copying homage to the increasingly popular Hood by Air line (which is carried by OC). For the uninitiated, Hood by Air is the NYC-based collection designed by Shayne Oliver, known for its conceptual take on streetwear and somewhat unusual branding – most notable: the placement of the Hood by Air logo on t-shirts, shorts, and sweatshirts (see below) in defiance of the very strong less-is-more trend that's happening right now in terms of logos. The label has become somewhat of a must-have recently, with HBA super-fan A$AP Rocky closing out the brand's F/W show, regular collaborations with internet cool kids #BEEN #TRILL, regular sightings on bad boy model Bradley Soileau and lots of other great hypebeast press I’m sure. 


    While the designs by Opening Ceremony aren’t so egregious that Hood by Air likely has any cause of action, the HBA inspiration is obvious, and corny. There’s no telling why Opening Ceremony decided to jump so hard on this recent trend (I see you too, shorts over pants. Don’t pretend like you were here a year ago either.), particularly as the store has been quite a beacon of original design across the globe for some time. So, while many of creative directors Carol and Humberto’s designs may not always be aesthetically pleasing (unless you like wearing as many clashing prints on your body at once) they were at least original.

    Hood by Air (left) & Opening Ceremony (right)
    images courtesy of thecoolhour & opening ceremony

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    Designer Tom Ford is reportedly "flattered" by Jay-Z's recently released song entitled Tom Ford. Aside from the ego boost that must come along with Jay-Z dropping your name repeatedly in a song, I'm not entirely sure what TF has to gain (and not lose) from such flagrant name dropping. In case you're not familiar with the Tom Ford brand, it boasts $4,000+ suits and $500+ fragrances, and in 2011, was named the 11th most expensive store in the U.S. Prices aside, its widely-known that the Tom Ford brand isn't for everyone, which makes me wonder why TF himself would endorse such a mainstream use of his personal name and simultaneously, the name of the brand he has worked so hard to build and position so precisely (because let's be honest, you can't really open up shop and dress Daniel Craig as James Bond and sell 8 ounces of perfume for $520 on a whim). Ford's brand is the result of careful planning and has been years in the making, dating back to his days at Gucci and YSL. With this in mind, allowing its repeated use in a less-than-extremely relevant rap song seems like a big risk, no?

    image courtesy of tfs

    I suppose its somewhat erroneous to imply that Jay-Z has the power to negatively impact a brand, such as Ford's, but with two presumably different customer bases at issue here, what's the point? I posed similar questions when TF chose to align himself with Justin Timberlake earlier this year. Especially because sometimes, particularly in the luxury sector, where exclusivity reigns, less is more. 

    The question is essentially: What does Tom Ford stand to gain from having a rapper, who seems to be at the tail end of his music career (recall that Jay-Z did a Samsung commercial in the recent past), name dropping him in a mediocre song? Before I proceed ... I'm fully aware that some Jay-Z listeners wear Tom Ford suits. Its not the vast majority of them or the average. Its the overwhelming minority. The same could be said for listeners of Bach or the Rolling Stones. The point is: the regular Tom Ford customer is few and far between (Jay-Z is reportedly one of them). I'm not sure who is behind this odd marketing ploy (at least on Ford's end), but given the path Givenchy is taking (and the cautionary tale that is most certainly in the making regarding luxury-turned-streetwear), I am surprised that no one at Team Ford shut this one down because the branding doesn't seem quite right. Thoughts? 

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    by Olivia Bergin, Telegraph

    It takes approximately 48 hours for one of Hermès' artisans to create a Birkin bag, so to cope with demand despite the £6,000-plus price tags, the brand is planning to open two new factories in Eastern France.

    Approximately 400 new jobs will be made across new sites in Héricourt and in Montbéliard in 2015 or 2016. Both sites are within 20kms of the brand's existing factory in Seloncourt and will specialise in the craftsmanship of leather goods. Once the new artisans have been trained at a temporary workshop in Etupes, the new sites will absorb the staff at Seloncourt.

    Hermès's policy is that only one artisan can produce one model from start to finish, be it the desirable Kelly (named after the late Grace Kelly), the Birkin (in honour of Jane Birkin) or the H-branded Constance. Each artisan has their own unique set of tools, which are never shared and which they take with them when they retire.

    The label, which is also universally famous for its silk, square scarves, shows its ready-to-wear collections at Paris Fashion Week under the creative direction of Christophe Lemaire.

    Earlier this month, luxury conglomerate LVMH was fined €8 million by France's stock market regulator for failing to disclose the acquisition of numerous shares in Hermès.

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    The General Court of the EU has refused to grant a trademark for red-tipped shoelaces in a case that's somewhat reminiscent of the Christian Louboutin v. YSL trademark battle that wrapped up early this year. According to the World Intellectual Property Review, "In 2010 Austrian company, Think Schuhwerk, which sells a range of men and women’s shoes, applied for a Community mark to protect 'shoes with laces with red tips on the ends of shoelaces' under class 25." Despite Think Shuhwerk's allegations that its red-tipped shoelaces are a rarity in the market, its trademark was rejected on the grounds that the company failed to provide "evidence to suggest that the colour of parts of the laces of a shoe is usually perceived by the relevant public as an indication of commercial origin.” Further, the court affirmed the lower courts' rulings that Think Shuhwerk's trademark red-tipped laces were devoid of distinctive character. 

    image courtesy of think shoes

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    Judging by how well this year’s punk-themed Met Gala went, I was unsure of what to expect when I entered the cavernous room that houses “PUNK: Chaos to Couture,” the Met’s latest exhibit celebrating punk music’s influence on high fashion. Of course any time something is commodified enough to be put into a museum, its true essence is intangible. The exhibit featured things like urinals from the late CBGB’s and Vivienne Westwood pieces from London’s infamous 1970s “Sex” boutique. However, the “Couture” aspect of the exhibit dominated, with rows and rows of spiky wigged mannequins in designer pieces as recent as Spring 2014. The clothes mimicked some of the aesthetic elements found in punk fashion, such as spray painting, customization, and the ubiquitous safety pin motif. However, to call a Chanel couture piece “punk” just because it is black and has some intentional weathering is a definite stretch.

    image courtesy of the metropolitan museum of art

    The exhibit itself is an interesting juxtaposition. I enjoyed seeing live footage from bands like The Sex Pistols and Suicide, filled with tenacity and - dare I say- raw power, blare in such a controlled environment. I heard one visitor complain, “We have to leave here soon, this is giving me a headache.” As much as I enjoyed seeing archive Versace and McQueen, for me, the essence of punk rebellion cannot be extrapolated in a pair of Margiela Tabi boots. Additionally, for a movement that was centered on ideas like anti-materialism and anarchy, the enormous gift shop at the end was a punch in the gut. The most “punk” thing about the exhibit, was the general public’s reaction. Tourist families were really unsure of what to make of Patti Smith’s poetic screaming over giant speakers or Vivienne Westwood shirts that showed Mickey and Minnie in compromising positions. Check out the chaos and couture for yourself. The exhibit closes on August 16th. 

    The Intern Journals is a segment by TFL Intern Dominic DeLuque. Dominic is an MLK scholar at New York University studying Art History. The Intern Journals features stories on contemporary fashion and relevant happenings in and around New York. Contact: domdeluque@gmail.com.

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    According to UK publication, Daily Mail, playwright Stephen Fry is in talks with designers John Galliano, Roland Mouret and Sarah Burton (the creative director at Alexander McQueen) for one of them to create costumes for when he takes to the stage next year as the imperious Lady Bracknell in The Importance Of Being Earnest, which Fry himself will direct. The play will open at the Theatre Royal Haymarket or the Gielgud in this coming spring or fall, depending on theatre availability. Galliano is the former Dior creative director, who was fired after making anti-Semitic slurs, which were caught on tape, in a Paris cafe in 2011.

    image courtesy of vogue.it

    Galliano's comeback has been a bit tumultuous. He spent several months with Oscar de la Renta, leading up to the NYC-based designer's Fall 2013 show. Galliano was slated to teach a three-day master class at Parson School of Design in May, but the class was subsequently cancelled due to difficulties in negotiations between the parties. After nearly two years of silence, he spoke out for the first time last month in a Vanity Fair interview and a taped interview with Charlie Rose. Currently pending: Galliano's lawsuit against Christian Dior S.A. and his namesake label, John Galliano, for wrongful termination. More to come, I'm sure ... 

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    It looks like recent Parsons graduate Isabel Simpson-Kirsch has taken her senior collection and tapped into the proven appeal of Wil Fry-esque street wear. Simpson-Kirsch, who goes by Isabel S-K, showed a dress and other garments with rapper Lil B's face on the bodies of Hindu gods during the Parsons benefit fashion show in May, and is set to release a collection of jersey separates (t-shirt, shorts and a jacket), which (as of now) will be sold exclusively at VFiles. While other sites have been quick place all of the blame on Simpson-Kirsch for the similarity between her work and Fry's, I think its a bit more to it than that. 

    Wil Fry's Ian Connor shorts (left) & Isabel S-K's shorts (right)

    First and foremost, there is not likely any legal cause of action here. Unless, Isabel S-K does not have rights to the Lil B images she's using (in which case someone could sue her for copyright infringement), there doesn't appear to be any illegal activity, especially because the copying here is limited to that of an idea (which is not protected under copyright law), as opposed to copying Fry's actual expression. With this in mind, let's break the situation down by party ... 

    Wil Fry's Ian Connor tee (left) & Isabel S-K's dress (right)

    Wil Fry: Yes, Wil Fry has dominated the market when it comes to jersey and non-jersey garments with faces and/or Givenchy birds of paradise printed all over them (think: the Ian Connor series, which is set to hit the VFiles store and website soon), but that doesn't mean he can legally prevent others, such as Isabel S-K, from making printed garments. Having said that, does the Lil B version remind us (in theory) of Wil Fry's work? Yes. 

    Isabel Simpson-Kirsch: The easiest move, the one that requires the least amount of thought, is to blame the recent Parsons grad. In her defense, she's tapping into a trend in the streetwear market (and that's the thing about trends, they are often facilitated by appropriating the work of others). In that way, she's a smart businesswoman, giving people what they want to buy/wear. Kind of like Forever 21. As for whether she could be a bit more original, the answer to that seems pretty obvious. The dress didn't raise red flags, but the jersey shorts are certainly causing some controversy amongst Fry's fans. 

    VFiles: The other thing that Wil Fry and Isabel S-K have in common: VFiles. The NYC-based social media platform and store may not be completely free from its share of blame in this situation. The designers behind Proenza Schouler didn't take it lightly when Target copied their PS1 bag, while Target was carrying  pieces from its collaboration with Proenza Schouler. If this same logic applies, it may be like a questionable move for VFiles to announce (last month) that it will sell Fry's Ian Connor wares (one of the very few stores the notoriously elusive Fry chose to stock with) and then plan to nearly simultaneously stock Isabel S-K's eerily familiar pieces. (Isabel S-K's wares are currently up for pre-sale on the VFiles site). 

    So, take sides and tell us what one you're on in the comments section below. As for what Wil Fry had to say about the situation: "meh" and "its all good."

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  • 07/12/13--12:00: Week in Review
  • Take a quick break from summer vacay to catch up on some of the best stories of the week from The Fashion Law:

    Featuring Preston Chaunsumlit. Casting director and reality star, Preston, talks to us about diversity (or lack thereof) in the modeling industry, how Model Files came about, what models he's into right now and more ... 

    Is artist Jonathan Seliger a major trademark infringer? From the looks of his famous replications of Chanel, Cartier, Gucci and Prada shopping bags, we think he may be. But take a look for yourself ... 

    The (real) Bling Ring. Get to know a bit about the characters in Sofia Coppola's latest film, which is based on real people and events. 

    Want to shop Louis Vuitton on the go? Well, now you can. The luxury giant launched a mobile shopping site this month for U.S. customers, and its called M-Commerce. 

    Tiffany and Co. is fighting (a lot of) fakes. The luxury jewelry company has filed suit against over 1,000 domains, which sell fake Tiffany and Co. jewelry. 

    images courtesy of artlet, cinema, vfiles & tfs

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    Michael Kors Holdings brought suit against Costco on Friday, accusing the wholesaler of illegally using pictures of its handbags in Costco ads in order to lure in customers. According to Kors' complaint, which was filed in New York City federal court, Costco is not an authorized retailer of Michael Kors bags (and never has been), and yet, until recently, was running nationwide advertisements falsely suggesting that the designer's handbags are available "starting at $99." Michael Kors, which is known for being an "accessible luxury" brand, sells handbags normally priced between $298 and $1,195. 

    image courtesy of elementsmag

    Michael Kors' complaint further alleges that Costco has been employing a "bait and switch" technique. As a result of the faulty advertising, a consumer is drawn into a Costco store or Costco's website seeking to purchase Michael Kors handbags. However, because no such handbags are available, the customer is left to shop for goods that actually exist in the store or online. According to Kors, "In April Costco sent an email ad touting a selection of handbags for Mother's Day 'starting at $99.99,' several of which were Michael Kors handbags featuring the company's trademarks." Yet, when Kors representatives visited Costco's website and 19 retail stores, they found that none carried its handbags. Michael Kors is seeking an injunction, to stop Costco from advertising its products, and is also seeking lost profits, as well as  punitive damages stemming from the alleged false ads.

    The lawsuit resembles one that Tiffany & Co brought against Costco in February. In that case, the jeweler accused Costco of using Tiffany's trademarks online and on at least one in-store ring display case.

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    Kanye West's highly speculated collection for A.P.C. hit the web today and it is not exactly what I had anticipated. Consisting of hoodies, jeans, printed t-shirts, plain white and dark navy tees and a short-sleeve hooded sweatshirt, the collection is far from epic. This was a bit unexpected because the collection was two years in the making and because Kanye is a self-proclaimed "design genius," the "Steve [Jobs] of fashion, etc. etc. From what I have gathered: 1) not much "designing" actually took place to create the capsule collection, and 2) West has gone the route of the Olsen twins/The Row, in terms of the most talked-about items in the capsule: the t-shirts. West presents expensive, very basic t-shirts, but the quality of the "Hip Hop tees" is likely lower than anything The Row boasts. 


    As I mentioned above, the collection is surprising. After West showed two heavily criticized womenswear collections in Paris last year (and then threw a fit that they weren't well received), I was almost ready to give West the benefit of the doubt. I really was. But much like my review of his womenswear collections, his work with A.P.C. drives home the point that he does not have a firm grasp of luxury or even accessible luxury fashion. Now it may seem to the contrary, as when I last checked (on Sunday evening), most of the collection was sold out. The t-shirts and sweatshirts appear to be a hit, much more so than the denim, which is almost fully in stock. So, while this may be considered a successful run for West, is it really? Let's be honest, Kanye isn't doing this for the money. He is doing this because he loves fashion so much that it "breaks [his] heart," and he wants to be a respected fashion designer. With that in mind, how many of these shoppers bought the $180 t-shirts because they are amazing shirts and how many bought them because they have Kanye's seal of approval (by way of a red A.P.C. KANYE tag)? 

    Kanye has an enormous following. Hence, the rise of the street goth trend that has eclipsed the streetwear market. I am not denying that he is a bona fide creative and trendsetter. Nor am I denying that he is a very gifted musician. My point is simply that the majority of those shopping Kanye West x A.P.C. are fans, not fashion critics, not high fashion shoppers, probably not even the average A.P.C. shoppers. Moreover, I highly suspect that if A.P.C. were to sell these items without all of the Kanye West-associated hype, they would not sell out in a day. Such quick sales are not a testament to Kanye West as a talented designer, they are a testament to Kanye West as a famous brand. 

    So, I've said it before and I'll say it yet again, just because you have a famous name, does not mean you are qualified to design clothing. But thankfully for everyone who is connected to social media or fashion/music websites in any way, the collection is selling quite well, and thus, we won't have to hear about West ranting (and tweeting stuff like: "this is the maddest I ever will be. I'm typing so fucking hard I might break my fucking Mac book Air!!!!!!!!") about how his "design genius" is being overlooked or something like that. 

    images courtesy of apc

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    Well, here's an interesting story. Our friends over at Fashionista recently ran a piece on celebrity stylist Lysa Cooper. She's worked with Beyonce, Rihanna and Kanye West, and apparently, she has a thing or two to say about Mary-Kate and Ashley's CFDA award winning collection, The Row, namely that the twins don't do much designing at all ("hired designers" do that stuff) and that their collection consists of a bunch of glorified copies. Her words not mine. In case you're not familiar with The Row, which launched in 2006, it is reportedly designed by the twins (who do not have formal fashion design training) and almost all of the manufacturing is done in NYC's Garment District. Their basic, minimal, adult, and expensive garments and accessories is the utmost in luxury of an understated sort. I don't see the copycat references but if you do, please share, and see Cooper's quote below ... 

    images courtesy of style.com

    “The only [celebrity line] that’s any good, and I hate to say it, are our girls, the twins. The Row. But the reason that works, is because they hired designers. They 'yay' or 'nay' [the concepts]. And they are the best line at ripping off other lines that I’ve ever seen.” 

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