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The Official Page of The Fashion Law.

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    The Alexander Wang #Secret was revealed this weekend: a room full of free T by Alexander Wang clothes. Fans reportedly waited in line for hours to get into the mystery event, and only 150 or so were permitted access, and some left with all the free Alexander Wang clothes they could possibly carry (or put in a box - as a few people were spotted leaving with). While many are gushing about the young designer (who is also the creative director of Balenciaga) and super-cool event, it seems they are almost outnumbered by those who are not nearly as amused and even some who are down right angry. Catch are some of the not-so-pleasant comments from around the web below and tell us, PR genius or nightmare?  

    image courtesy of nymag

    This event is such a huge BAD PR for Wang. I'd say over 1000 people were turned away really angry.
      
    Sickest part of this "hunger games-esque" PR stunt was that Alexander Wang and his family were sitting and watching from an above balcony like we were people acting like animals (which most were). I walked out empty handed feeling so disgusted to be honest.

    Was marked to be 139 person in line, got in, walked out with nothing because people were savages in there stuffing merchandise in boxes. 

    When we got to the main room the racks were empty and everyone was knocking each other over and grabbing merchandise from each other. Definitely not well orchestrated.

    Alex wang, just get some more sweatshop workers to churn out some more of those clothes in your windowless chinatown rooms.

    There were people who I talked to that didn't get in and were there for 4-5 hrs. This is a Huge PR disaster for him.

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  • 07/15/13--10:00: Model Mondays: Levi Lomey
  • Cape Town-based Levi Lomey made his international debut in 2009 in a Vogue Hommes Japan editorial. He has since walked for Dior Homme, Kenzo, Michalsky, and Top Man, and appeared in campaigns for Mr. Porter and Polo. With two model siblings (his brother and sister are both signed to major agencies), Lomey was basically a modeling industry shoe-in. He talks to us about what clients like about him, the downsides of modeling, Dior, and more ...

    The Fashion Law How old are you and what's your nationality?

    Levi Lomey  I'm 20 and I'm from South Africa.

    The Fashion Law  Business today is so much about branding do you feel like models are brands? 

    Levi Lomey  Yes, models are brands. The question can be interpreted in many ways. Each model has to Travel and market themselves (with the help of agents) to clients and represent themselves and their specific look to get work and build their resumè, whereby building their own brand. There are many different markets, looks, body types etc. I see the collective companies you work for as your 'brand' or market.

    The Fashion Law  How do you think you are different from other models?

    Levi Lomey  I would have to say my beauty spot on my top lip on the left is fairly unique setting me ever so slightly apart from other models. Clients seem to like it! 


    The Fashion Law  What did you think of modeling before you got started?

    Levi Lomey  I started modeling at the age of 16, (my brother, Bryce, got me into it as he was already in the industry). I always admired the pretty girls in magazines and listened to Bryce's stories about work and thought of it as a really amazing job and an incredible chance to travel the world.

    The Fashion Law  What has been the highlight of modeling for you so far? Is there a specific job you loved?

    Levi Lomey  I would have to say every job is a highlight, being on set, meeting and working with really amazing people from around the world. I really enjoy my job. The job I found the most exciting would have to be my first show - I walked for Dior in Paris fashion week while on a trip organized by my brother during school holidays. (he convinced the principle to let me write my mid year exams 3weeks before the rest of the school so I could make it in time for the shows) The thrill and rush of being on the ramp infront of so many people really got my adrenaline going, from then on i was hooked and I loved every second of it. 

    The Fashion Law  Do you think there are any downsides to modeling?

    Levi Lomey  The downside of modeling would also have to be the biggest perk - the traveling. I feel as an average South African its much harder to travel abroad compared to Europeans. and i see myself as very lucky to be able to experience the world. Constantly being on the road can make you lonely and tiresome and takes a very strong mind to keep your head on straight. For me with my home in South Africa, its virtually impossible to just shoot home for a weekend and visit friends and family. I do miss them as I travel for extended periods of time, but the jobs keeps me busy which I love.

    The Fashion Law– Is there a particular designer or design house that you absolutely want to work with?

    Levi Lomey  I would really like work for Dior again, but off the ramp. The style and status that comes with their brand stands out ahead of many others.


    The Fashion Law  What do you like to do when you're not traveling/working?

    Levi Lomey  When im not traveling I like to hang out with my friends and family in Cape Town. A few of us made a long boarding crew and we would mission for hours to find the perfect hills to slide on.

    The Fashion Law  Where do you see yourself in the next several years?

    Levi Lomey  In the next several years i would like to be established and living in New York, a dream I share with many others! Haha.. I am always keeping an eye out for other ventures to expand into. But for now I am just enjoying the ride!

    The Fashion Law  What are you obsessed with right now?

    Levi Lomey  I'm pretty obsessed with technology, I find the gadgets people are inventing to be so creative and innovative. Im hoping one day to create some of my own. And With space travel a possibility in my life time, the sky really isn't the limit. (thanks Richard Branson for that line).

    images courtesy of tumblr

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    Renee Alway, who placed third on season/cycle eight of Americas Next Top Model, was arrested last week after a six-hour armed standoff with a SWAT team in Palm Springs last month. The model, aged 27, is currently being held in Riverside County jail on a $150,000 bail, awaiting a hearing on numerous charges, including: burglary, fraud, narcotics possession, forgery, resisting arrest, and committing a felony while on bail. Apparently, this is at least the fourth time this year that Palm Springs police have arrested the former model. Alway (pictured below) was also arrested on June 2 and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, petty theft and fraud. Not exactly model behavior. See the other Americas Next Top Model contestants who have been in the spotlight for illegal behavior after the break ... 


    clockwise from top left: Rob Evans, Bianca Golden, Bre Scullark & Brandy Rusher
    images courtesy of antm & tfs

    Top Model Judge, Rob Evans, a British model (who's worked for Givenchy) and former boxer, was arrested in October 2012 in connection with a felony assault and battery case that took place at Next Modeling agency offices in Beverly Hills, according to the Beverly Hills Police Department.

    In November 2010, model Nicholas Hamman-Howe filed suit against former America's Next Top Model judge Nole Marin for sexual harassment. Hamman-Howe alleged in his lawsuit that Marin made unwanted sexual advances that date back to 2007 and continued until 2010.

    Brandy Rusher, from America's Next Top Model Cycle 4, got herself in some hot water in May 2010 for resisting arrest. After her neighbors called the police about loud music coming from her apartment, Rusher began to curse at the police and shove them, later attempting to flee and avoid incarceration.

    Cycle 10 contestant, Atalya Slater, was arrested in February 2010, after a fight with a female partygoer at NYC club, 1Oak. Slater reportedly got physical during an argument over a jacket. The unnamed victim, was taken to the hospital by ambulance, and Slater was arrested for assault and released. 

    Brittany “Bre” Scullark, who was on cycle 5 was arrested in NYC in September 2009 for disorderly conduct. Police were called when Scullark began arguing with another patron, who claimed Scullark had taken her laptop and wouldn’t give it back.  

    Elyse Sewell (of cycle 1) and her now ex-boyfriend Marty Crandall, the keyboardist for the Shins, were involved in a domestic dispute in 2008 that ended in the both of them going to jail. 

    America's Next Top Model cycle 9 finalist, Bianca Golden, made the news after a fight with Hairspray  actress Nikki Blonsky in August 2008. Both were arrested and charged with assault with actual bodily harm -- which carries a maximum two-year sentence -- following a Wednesday altercation at the Providenciales International Airport in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The fight reportedly started when Golden, her brother George and their mom Elaine Clinton-Golden removed Blonsky's luggage from a few chairs so they could sit. 

    And while this girl wasn't on ANTM, she should have been! In December 2010, former Miss Arizona contestant Kumari Fulbright was sentenced to two years in prison for her role in the twisted kidnap and torture of her ex-boyfriend. The 28-year-old former law school student also got six years probation after pleading guilty to conspiracy to kidnap and aggravated assault charges.   

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    Juicy Couture founders Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor are reportedly looking to buy back their brand, which is currently owned by Fifth & Pacific., the company that also owns Kate Spade and Lucky Brand. Skaist-Levy and Nash-Taylor, who founded Juicy in 1997, are on the hunt for an investor to partner with, as Fifth & Pacific has been shopping Juicy, as well as Lucky Brand in recent months, in attempts to raise money for an expansion of Kate Spade. Final bids for Juicy were due this past week. 

    Gela Nash-Taylor (left) & Pamela Skaist-Levy (right)
    images courtesy of harper's bazaar

    Fifth & Pacific, then known as Liz Claiborne Inc., bought Juicy in 2003 for more than $230 million. Skaist-Levy and Nash-Taylor served as co-presidents of the business and transitioned to creative directors, before leaving the firm in January 2010. According to WWD, "While the official word was they wanted to do other things, there were market rumblings that the two were unhappy with the direction the brand was headed and had reportedly had clashes with Fifth & Pacific's CEO." Skaist-Levy and Nash-Taylor have since started a new brand, Skaist-Taylor.

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    According to the NY Post, a saleswomen at the Alexander McQueen store in the NYC Meatpacking District subjected an African security guard to such intense racist taunting, that he was hospitalized for anxiety attacks, depression and plans of suicide, and has since filed suit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The plaintiff is Othman Ibela, 22, of the Central African nation Gabon. In his complaint, he says Kimberly Mahnke, a saleswoman at the McQueen store, “repeatedly made jokes about me running nude in Africa with a spear in my hand."

    image courtesy of frillir

    According to Ibela's complaint, the store's manager, Catherine Flynn (who formerly worked at Saks and Peoples Revolution since graduating from F.I.T.), also repeatedly tormented him, asking him “why Muslims were always killing people” and joking about his accent, saying he sounded like he was speaking Swahili, an East African language that is not used in Ibela’s homeland. He also claims that the two women ignored black customers, often turning their backs when they entered the showroom. When he asked to be reassigned, his pay was docked and his hours were cut, the EEOC documents state. Ibela also plans to file suit in a New York federal court. 

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    With two big-name websites (BuzzFeed and Perez Hilton) getting slapped with lawsuits in the past few weeks, in connection with the sheer prevalence of other sites employing less-than-legal practices, we may have a hot new legal trend on our hands: copyright infringement lawsuits being brought against bloggers. Not to name names, but ... to make our point, here's an example. Highly-praised beauty website, Into The Gloss, posts a plethora of photos to its site on a daily basis. Some are taken by ITG photogs, but the majority of its "mood board" and other photos were taken by others (meaning, ITG is the not the copyright holder of these images). Thus, when these images are used, without giving credit to the copyright owner, this is almost definitely copyright infringement. 



    In case you aren't familiar with the law, for photos taken after March 1, 1989, copyright protection applies automatically to original photos (an easy standard to meet), for the life of the "author" (aka the photographer in most cases) and then for 70 years after his death. This protection gives the copyright owner several exclusive rights, one of which is the right to reproduce the copyrighted work (in this case, the image). This means that its almost impossible that the images on ITG (and other sites posting even somewhat recent photos) are in the public domain - aka no longer protected by copyright law - and thus, free for anyone to use. 

    It seems especially problematic for sites to post infringing photos, when (like ITG) they boast large readership numbers and earn profits from advertising. ITG, for instance, boasts a readership of 4.5 million monthly pageviews and an impressive amount of advertising dollars. This is relevant, as it means the images are being used for commercial purposes, and thus, less likely be considered exempt from liability. From the looks of ITG's terms and service agreement, someone over there understands copyright law to an extent, saying: "All materials displayed or performed on the Website, including, but not limited to text, blogs, graphics, articles, photographs, images, illustrations are protected by copyright," and even goes on to allege that even its potentially infringing use of others' photos is protected by way of a compilation. I'm pretty sure it doesn't work that way, but we will save that discussion for another day.

    The bottom line here: credit the sources of the photos you feature, especially if you are a big blog that boasts massive traffic and that accepts advertising revenue. Because there is another reason we could begin to see more copyright lawsuits in the blogosphere: bloggers are increasingly becoming well-paid individuals, making them attractive candidates to bring lawsuits against. So, ITG, if you're reading this, please know, we are rooting for you, not against you. Credit your photos so you don't end up like Perez.

    Hey bloggers, got any questions? Post them in the comments section below!

    all images courtesy of into the gloss

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    Well, that’s not entirely true. Your initial thought that it’s too good to be true is accurate. What you can actually get for that price is a canvas tote screenprinted with a Louis Vuitton handbag. Along with LV, you can also get Céline, Chanel, and Proenza Schouler from My Other Bag (MOB), a company that stems from “a reflection of a passion for handbags.” The California-based company has seemingly followed in the steps of Thursday Friday (TF) in taking a print of a luxury handbag and putting it on a much more affordable canvas tote. 


    Thursday Friday's "Fest Together" bags


    In case you’ve forgotten, TF famously created the "Together Bag", a canvas tote decorated with a screenprint of a Birkin bag. Hermès sued; TF’s motion to dismiss was denied; and the case eventually settled. What Hermès had going for it was that the Birkin bag is iconic enough to have secondary meaning because its very design signifies its source. That didn’t stop TF, though, as the company went on to take inspiration from several other designer bags, including Mui Mui, Proenza Schouler (pictured above), and Balenciaga, which probably would have a much harder time showing secondary meaning.


    The same will likely be true with respect to many of MOB’s totes. There are, however, a few that have raised some flags for us. Most notably are the Louis Vuitton screenprints. The checkered pattern on MOB’s “London” tote is a pattern that is trademarked by LV and so is the famous “Toile Monogram” pattern seen (in some variation) on MOB’s “Zoey” tote. The biggest issue in claiming trademark infringement will be showing that consumers are likely to be confused as to the source of the goods (i.e. consumers buying the canvas tote are under the impression that they are buying a genuine LV or that LV endorsed the use of its marks, or LV could show post-sale confusion). But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a plausible trade dress claim, as there is a strong argument that LV’s handbags have achieved secondary meaning.


    Time will tell if LV, a notoriously vigilant protector of its trademarks, decides to pursue MOB and its canvas totes.    

    Louis Vuitton's Neverfull (left) & MOB's London bag (right)

    Jennifer Williams is a law student, who writes about fashion, the legal avenues available for protecting it, and the ways in which the laws are falling short. For more from Jennifer, visit her blog, StartFashionPause, or follow her on Twitter.


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    We told you exclusively last month (even before WWD reported on it) that famed footwear design brand Christian Louboutin filed suit against Charles Jourdan Fashion Footwear and Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW) for trademark infringement, stemming from the alleged sale of counterfeit Louboutins. According to Louboutin's complaint, the counterfeits were allegedly sold on the website of DSW, and at stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and that “Defendants were and are aware that the counterfeit products they sell are not genuine Louboutin products." As such, the design house asked for $2 million for each infringed trademark, in addition to injunctive relief, interest and attorneys' fees. Well, the parties have settled in record time!

    image courtesy of christian louboutin

    According to Louboutin's trusty counsel, Harley Lewin (who represented the footwear co. in its suit against YSL), the parties came to an “amicable resolution." The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed and probably won't be. No word yet on whether Louboutin settled its very similar suit against Alba Footwear. 

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    This pretty much says it all. Opening Ceremony designer, Nicole Saldana, sums up design piracy and the Look for Less phenomenon in under a minute ...

     

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    In other news, rapper and former MTV reality "star" Riff Raff has filed suit against the producers of the recent James Franco flick, Spring Breakers. Jody Christian (who's stage name is Riff Raff) is suing for upwards of $8 million, alleging that James Franco's character, Alien, misappropriates his likeness. Spring Breakers, which also stars Selena Gomez, Vanessa, Hudgens, and Ashley Benson, grossed nearly $32 million worldwide earlier this year. 


    Sure, there is a resemblance between James Franco's character Alien (a corn-rowed rapper with gold teeth) and Riff Raff, but whether its strong enough to result in a successful suit for Christian, I'm not quite sure. Of the similarity, Christian says: "It's like if I have a front yard, and you're planting soil, and you're planting trees and building peaches and houses and selling parking lots on my property ... then I deserve to be compensated for some portion of that money." His words. Not mine.

    It vaguely reminds me of the White v. Samsung Electronics case, in which The Wheel of Fortune's Vanna White sued the electronics manufacturer for appropriating her image in a commercial. Samsung's ad depicted a robot, which was consciously presented to resemble White, next to a game board that was instantly recognizable as The Wheel of Fortune. The court held that since White neither consented to the ad, nor was paid for the use of her likeness, Samsung had acted in the wrong, as in accordance with a celebrity's right of publicity, which protects the celebrity's sole right to exploit this value whether he or she has achieved this fame out of rare ability, dumb luck, or a combination thereof.

    The White v. Samsung decision cited Eastwood v. Superior Court (a 1983 case heard by the California Court of Appeal), in stating that a common law right of publicity case may be pleaded by alleging: (1) Defendant’s use of Plaintiff’s identity; (2) the appropriation of Plaintiff’s name or likeness to Defendant’s advantage; (3) lack of consent [of the Plaintiff]; and (4) resulting injury [to the Plaintiff]. So, the key issue is likely whether Riff Raff can establish that he was harmed by Spring Breakers' alleged use of his likeness. Thoughts? 

    Riff Raff (left) & James Franco as Alien (right)
    images courtesy of nbc & mtv

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    Pippa Middleton, who caused quite a buzz on her older sister's wedding day (for looking a little bit too hot), is taking back the spotlight amidst the Royal Baby watch. A battle has erupted over a "parody" Twitter account. According to the UK's Sunday Times, 29-year-old socialite Pippa has reportedly called her lawyers and is suing the creators of @Pippatips, a spoof Twitter account, which pokes fun at her recently-published party planning book, Celebrate (which has received largely negative reviews). Mat Morrisroe and Suzanne Azzopardi created the @Pippatips account and have since amassed 50,000-plus followers, and have also published a "parody" book, When One Is Expecting: A Posh Person's Guide to Pregnancy and Parenting. Middleton claims the book, as well as the Twitter account, are enjoying great success at her expense, and wants both projects to be shut down immediately. 

    image courtesy of vanity fair

    Our favorite tweets from @Pippatips ...

    #PippaTip: dressing up in nice clothes is a stylish way to look great at a party
    #PippaTip: form friendships by being nice to people you like
    #PippaTip: finish typing before pressing send on a tweet
    #PippaTip: a party isn't much fun without people attending, so if you're hosting a soiree think about inviting people to join you
    #PippaTip: read tweets before pressing the 'tweet' button to make sure your tweet is making sense

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    The Fashion Law Exclusive - NYC-based model management company, Root, has been in talks for a few months to merge with fellow NYC management company, Re:Quest, and things are reportedly coming to a culmination. According to a TFL source, as of last week, Root had formally dropped several male and female models from its board, including ones who's contracts were still pending, as a result of an upcoming merger with Re:Quest. Root is said to be bringing its favorite models to Re:Quest (anywhere from 15 to 20 boys), as well as a couple Root employees. No word on which models will go to Re:Quest or what is to come for the girls that Root has on its board. 

    image courtesy of request

    Jed Root, who has amassed funds from his well-known artist management company, Jed Root, Inc., which represents fashion photographers, makeup artists, and hair and fashion stylists, is said to be taking over the role of Click Models, which has been funding the operations of Re:Quest. While Re:Quests boasts big name models, such as  Yuri Pleskun, Cole Mohr, and Ben Eidem, the company has been reportedly struggling financially for the past several years.  

    An announcement of this merger of sorts isn't expected until September's New York Fashion Week. 

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  • 07/17/13--08:00: Interview Series: Nicholas K
  • Arizona-born, NYC-based brother-sister duo Christopher and Nicholas Kunz, are not your average set of siblings. The two joined forces in 2003 to create Nicholas K, one of the consistently talked about high fashion mens and womenswear brands in New York. Known for its mastery of draping and experimentation with parkas and anoraks, the brand, now ten years old, boasts membership in the Council of Fashion Designers of America and consists not only of ready-to-wear but also accessories (most notably, amazing shoes). We talk to Christopher and Nicholas about their upcoming Soho pop-up shop, the business of fashion, Kelly Cutrone, and more ... 


    The Fashion Law  Tell me a little bit about your brand, since business is so focused on branding nowadays. 

    Nicholas K – We describe our brand as "Urban Nomad." Its about creating a harmonious balance between nature and city life. We want to make things that are not trend driven, but will make a lasting impression.

    The Fashion Law  Your designs are very much an result of the "modern urban nomad” idea. What does that mean to you?

    Nicholas K – It refers to the evolved renaissance individual. Worldy, ecologically conscious and diverse. Someone who values experience over ownership. Technology has enabled the world to shrink both consciously and geographically … International travel is so easy and we have near instant access to what’s happening around the globe. Our lifestyle strikes a balance of living in a dense population with a rural cabin and travel to amazing places. We are professionals that strive to create lasting products that are both strong in design and construction, and we believe owning the right things enables one to lead a streamlined life, much like nomads experienced.

    The Fashion Law  Do you ever worry about others copying your designs? 

    Nicholas K – Of course its something that we worry about. Unfortunately, its prevalent within the industry and some businesses within the industry only exist because of it. Its even more disheartening that retailers knowingly support it. Protection is difficult under the current system and even so smaller designers don’t normally have the resources to chase offenders.


    The Fashion Law  More and more brands have business partners today. Chris, you have been involved since the beginning and co-founded the brand. How did you get involved and what are your biggest challenges in growing and maintaining the brand?

    Nicholas K – I guess I have my hands in everything. My job title changes hourly. The industry has changed a lot in the last 10 years and at our level of business, we get squeezed from both ends. Large conglomerates have extensive budgets and resources for branding, while fast fashion retailers jam the market with endless inexpensive product.

    The Fashion Law  From the beginning you have stocked in the U.S. and abroad. Does that present any additional challenges in terms of design or business?

    Nicholas K – Fashion is global now. Most brands and retailers you see in NY can be found in cities all over the world. If you have a successful brand, chances are you can be successful in other markets with the right group of partners. The challenges are mostly learning about the different expectations of the new market and how to develop the brand presence there. 

    The Fashion Law  You launched the brand in 2003. How do you guys think you’ve changed personally and/or professionally since then?

    Nicholas K – With time comes a certain sense of maturity in oneself and the collection has progressed along with us.


    The Fashion Law  Peoples Revolution does your PR. I have to ask - what is it like working with Kelly Cutrone (who is quite obviously such a huge force in fashion)? 

    Nicholas K – Kelly is like a whirlwind where ever she goes and is constantly on the move, probably akin to the ‘god particle’ that’s been so elusive to the science world. She is an essential part of PR and knows how to make things happen.

    The Fashion Law  You have been in fashion for quite a while now. What have you learned about the business of fashion? 

    Nicholas K – Its not linear. Most other industries seem to have a certain path to follow while the fashion landscape changes seasonally. There aren’t many industries with such short product lifecycles.

    The Fashion Law  What are you currently working on?

    Nicholas K – We are working on a few things ... Fall 2014, a pop up shop in SoHo and developing a store concept.

    The Fashion Law  What are you obsessed with right now?

    Christopher – Expedition Travel, “modern nomadic travel”

    Nicholas – Gardening and learning how to be self sufficient. 

    images courtesy of style.com & nicholas k

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    After nearly a year of speculation, Swedish fast fashion giant H&M has announced that it will launch the U.S. version of its e-commerce site later this summer, and the fashion blogosphere is celebrating. While we don't deny that H&M's e-commerce launch is a smart business decision and will likely be a huge success for the brand (and its bottom line), I cannot help but be disappointed. Are fast fashion shoppers really forgetting that just this past April over a thousand people were killed in a garment factory in Bangladesh, much likes the ones where H&M garments and accessories are manufactured? Sure, H&M has signed onto an accord that vows to bring increased standards to the Bangladesh garment factories, but is it really that easy to put such devastation out of our minds for a $20 dress? Apparently, the answer is yes. 

    image courtesy of tfs

    It appears we have truly become a culture that embraces fast fashion and the idea that more-is-more at all costs, even more so than I had previously understood. I suppose it is easy to put the young brand owners, who's designs are stolen, to create $10 H&M blouses, out of our minds. Also easily forgotten: the underpaid children and women, who are working in hot, cramped spaces, with locked fire exists, to ensure that our printed skinny jeans are $20, as opposed to the $150+ price tag of those that manufacture ethically in the NYC Garment District, for instance. These realities of fast fashion are somehow washed away when we hear things like ... Isabel Marant for H&M or H&M is launching e-commerce! Thoughts?

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    Remember last year when there was major drama stemming from Women Model Management "poaching" Alana Zimmer from Ford? Well, we may start seeing lawsuits like that more often. Ever since Elite Management Worldwide launched Society Model Management early this year, top female models have flocked to the new agency. As of April, "The Society," which is affiliated with Elite Paris (not to be confused with Elite New York, which operates on a different network), has already signed a roster of more than forty models, including big names like Lindsey Wixson (who left Marilyn Agency) and Sigrid Agren (who left Ford), as well as rising newcomers like Manuela Frey and Mackenzie Drazan. And just this week, Victoria’s Secret Angel and one of models.com's top 5 highest earning models, Adriana Lima, signed on with Society. No word on why Lima left her longtime agency, Marilyn, or whether she is in breach of her contract with them.

    image courtesy of tfs

    It should be interesting to see who else joins Lima and the others at Society, which is focused on digital branding and long-term career management for the girls, and whether Ford, DNA, Women, and/or IMG contracts will be breached to do so. If the currently pending $3.3 million lawsuit that Marilyn brought against model Constance Jablonski after she breached her contract with them to sign with DNA is any indication, agencies do not tend to take it lightly when top models breach their contracts. Agencies may also have to worry about more than the models, though. The New York Post is reporting that Lima's agent, Chris Gay, who was a top booker at Marilyn for more than a decade, recently left Marilyn to become general manager of Society Management and executive director of North American operations of Elite World Group. More to come ... 


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    These Birkins aren't real - image courtesy of moaat.com

    As of now the Birkin bag "waiting list" is largely a thing of the past. But keep in mind, just because anyone with at least $10k can buy a once super-exclusive Birkin bag these days, that does not mean that authentic bags are readily available online. Sure, Moda Operandi and (usually) eBay play hosts to the sale of authentic vintage Hermès bags, but can you find brand new and/or used Birkins and Kellys online? It's pretty risky. Sites like Moaat.com and many other offer bags with the hefty price tag (which are priced this high to seriously confuse consumers), but I promise these bags are far from real.

    Also, Birkins and Kelly bags are virtually never sold at a discount, as the bags do not really depreciate and also due to the continuously high demand for them. So, if you see a bag "on sale" or "discounted," this should be a red flag. Lastly, don't judge a bag by the site's images. More frequently than not, these legitimate-looking sites use real Hermès photos, not ones of the bag that will be shipped to you. And forget about getting a refund if you ship the bag back.

    Lesson here: even if the website is charging authentic Hermès prices (or close to authentic Hermès prices, they're a bit cheap on Moaat.com) and the bag looks real, that doesn't mean it is authentic. Moaat.com and numerous others are in clear violation of the Lanham Act (which provides the grounds for trademark law), as it is involved in serious trademark counterfeiting. When shopping for an Hermès bag, only buy from authorized retailers, and with only a few online exceptions, this means an Hermès store.

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    When you have fans like Taylor Swift does, you don't really ever have to send a cease and desist letter if a company uses your likeness (or even alludes to it). For the second time in under a month, Swift's fans have attacked a clothing company with down-right mean Instagram and Twitter messages, stemming from a t-shirt. Indy clothing label Bad Kids Clothing's founders, Lex Houser and Andi Cross, posted a picture of this Swift-inspired tee to their Instagram, only to be bombarded by a bunch of angry "Swifties" with hate messages and even death threats. A similar protest was staged by the singer's fans last month when Abercrombie & Fitch debuted a Taylor Swift-inspired t-shirt that read, "more boyfriends than t.s." The retailer subsequently pulled the shirt from its site and stores. Since neither of the t-shirts at issue actually use Swift's name or image, instead just allude to her love life, it seems her fans are being quite overzealous, don't you think?

    image courtesy of badkids

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    ASOS is having a rough month. Kate Bostock, the UK online retailer's new Executive Director of Product and Trading, quit somewhat abruptly after spending roughly six months with the company. ASOS had spent over a year courting Bostock, the former head of fashion for Marks & Spencer, as she was viewed as the businesswoman whose retail knowledge and contacts would take online fashion business Asos to the next stage. And now, the online giant has been slapped with a lawsuit, stemming from its online sales in the U.S. Assos, a Swiss company that sells clothing, particularly cycling clothing and accessories, has filed suit against the similarly-named fashion brand, alleging that it is violating its federally registered Assos trademark (which extends to clothing). 

    image courtesy of assos

    Anton and Roger Maier allege in their trademark infringement suit, which was filed on Monday in a Maryland federal court, that Assos has "generated a substantial reputation of goodwill" and that by offering for sale via the internet clothing, footwear and head gear and other fashion accessories under their mark, ASOS "is creating a likelihood of confusion, including likelihood of association." 

    In 2011, Assos prevailed in a similar suit in Switzerland. The company persuaded regulators at the European Union’s Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) that consumers could become confused due to the similarity between the two brand names, and as a result, the court held that ASOS is prevented from selling products under that name in the cycle clothing company's home country. As for whether the court will rule in Assos' favor, I'm not entirely sure, as Assos is primarily a cycling-clothing company, and not a fast fashion retailer. However, in Assos' defense, the brand is trying to be fashion-forward, as you may have notice that the model in the ad campaign above is wearing the Cage Booties from YSL's Spring 2009 collection - along with her cycling gear.

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    Remember the controversy that erupted last year when Instagram announced that it was set to change its terms of service? Well, there have been some developments. The photo-sharing app won a California state lawsuit just last week, stemming from a proposed class action alleging Instagram's terms violate California privacy laws by giving broad rights over users’ personal pictures. The judge dismissed the case on procedural grounds. Three days later, Instagram was hit with another proposed class action, but this time in California state court. 

    images courtesy of instagram

    This time, Lucy Rodriguez, who filed suit in San Francisco Superior Court and who was party to the very recently dismissed Instagram lawsuit, is alleging that the new terms instituted by Instagram in January improperly expand the company's rights to users' photos. According to Rodriguez's complaint: Instagram's original terms stated that "Instagram does NOT claim ANY ownership rights in [content] that you post on or through the Instagram Services." Yet, the new terms, by contrast, claim a "transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license" to the content that amounts to "an unlimited license to commercially exploit the Property," and allows the site to hang on to users’ photos even after they delete their accounts. 

    Alleging claims of breach of contract and violation of California business and professions code, the suit is asking the court to restrict Instagram to its original terms in regards to rights over the photos, as well as attorneys' fees and "other and further relief as this Court may deem just and proper."

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    Now that Alexander Wang has gone high fashion (after being named creative director of Paris-based design house Balenciaga last year), it looks like he is stepping up his ad campaign game. Probably most known for the advertising for his more afford line, T by Alexander Wang, which has featured musicians, such as Die Antwoord, Zoe Kravtiz, A$AP Rocky and Azealia Banks, Wang has unveiled his namesake collection's Fall 2013 ad campaign. It was styled by Camilla Nickerson, shot by photographer Steven Klein and stars model Malgosia Bela (the latter two were involved in Wang's Spring ads). Unfortunately, the seriously amazing shoes and those furry boxing gloves didn't make it into the image, but see them after the break ... 



    images courtesy of wwd & style.com

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