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The Official Page of The Fashion Law.

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    In case you're wondering what ever happened to NYC-based brand, Heatherette, since they last showed, well, apparently, not much. The label, best known for celeb fans like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian (before her Kanye-imposed make over), last showed in 2008, and in the meantime, it appears that co-founder, Richard Eichhorn (aka Richie Rich), has been getting in some legal trouble. According to the New York Post, the "deadbeat" designer (who is 44) skipped out on a $1,700 bill after spending three nights at the Times Square Westin in June. Eichhorn and a pal were initially arrested on misdemeanor theft-of-services charges. Eichorn was released on his own recognizance on June 11th, but a warrant was issued on June 30 that landed him back in court last week. Reporters caught up with him as he was leaving the NYC court, and he said: “Fashion Week is going to be great this year." Does this mean there is a Heatherette comeback on the horizon?

    image courtesy of popsugar

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    I think I have come across one of the most infringing websites we've seen here at TFL in awhile. Unauthorized use of Chanel's trademark? Check. Cartier's trademark? Check. Hermes' trade dress? Check. Balenciaga's trade dress? Check. Copies of those Isabel Marant Renell skinny jeans (formerly known as the Navajo skinny jeans)? Check. Support from big-name fashion bloggers (think: Chiara Ferragni of the Blonde Salad)? Check.

    The culprit: MINUSEY, an online retailer that offers "one-of-a-kid items that can't be found in any other place." Don't be fooled by this self-proclaimed "global online destination," as it is merely a hub for design piracy and other forms of infringement. See a few of the infringing goods below (the site's operators seem to favor Chanel, Balenciaga and Isabel Marant), and place some bets on how long it will take us to get this site stripped of its infringing goods ... 







    images courtesy of minusey

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    Have you ever wondered what "it" Brit designer, Christopher Kane, whose brand was recently purchased by Kering (formerly known as PPR), thinks of copying? Well, here you go ...
    We strive to create new textiles because we just want something different because then its yours and you can patent it. That's something that we have had to start to do now, to patent everything, because in the past we were like "Oh, whatever." and then you'd see it ripped off and you were like, "Motherfuckers!"


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    In case being one of the most sought after young designers in the U.S. isn't enough, Prabal Gurung has taken up writing, as well. The designer, who proudly manufactures almost all of his wares in New York and has dressed Michelle Obama, Kate Middleton, and a handful of young Hollywood starlets, has taken to the Journal section of his website to introduce a new column  devoted to “women, power and fashion.” His mission: debunk the notion that women cannot be fashionable and powerful at the same time. He says: "I have never understood this notion, and I wouldn’t be doing what I do today if I believed it." So, each week Gurung, who is also a dedicated philanthropist, with a focus on his native Nepal, will profile a woman he finds inspiring. Up first is 25 year-old Princeton grad and New York Times columnist, Suleika Jaouad, who was diagnosed, at age 22, with myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia. Catch an excerpt from his first post below and be sure to check out his future posts. With every new project that Gurung undertakes, we love him a little bit more!

    image courtesy of style.com

    In his first post, Gurung writes:
    There has always been a strange sense of antagonism between fashion and powerful women, a belief that women must sacrifice femininity to gain power, authority and respect – and that fashion especially is too frivolous a concern for serious women. I have never understood this notion, and I wouldn’t be doing what I do today if I believed it.

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    Harper's Bazaar's recent editorial, entitled Singular Beauties, is a joke. Don't get me wrong, the 33-page spread, which appears in the magazine's September issue and is a collaboration between its Global Fashion Director, Carine Roitfeld, and Chanel boss, Karl Lagerfeld, is beautiful and it has a nice message. It features models and non-models of a range of ages (Carmen Dell'Orefice, who is 82, and notoriously underage model, Ondria Hardin, who is now allegedly 16 years old), nationalities (Korean Soo Joo Park, Ethiopian Liya Kebede, and Chinese Xiao Wen Ju), and sizes (Erika Ervin, who is 6'8" and plus-sized Candice Huffine). #Diversity. An over-the-top display of it, but Diversity, nonetheless. I get that, and I appreciate that. But for some reason, the idea of forced Diversity, as the theme for an editorial, doesn't feel the same as naturally featuring models of various backgrounds and of various sizes in a magazine, no? What is the difference between this spread and one in which food or plastic surgery or climate change are incorporated into high fashion to "make a statement"?


    I think we can all agree that the fashion industry needs more Diversity, but it needs organic Diversity. It doesn't need Diversity for the sake of Diversity, or Diversity to prove a point, because what is that actually achieving? Nothing. When we (as an industry and a culture) can genuinely start viewing Diversity (aka black models, Asian models, girls over size 2, and over age 17, etc,.) as beautiful, then I think we can boast progress. (In Karl Lagerfeld's defense, he isn't exactly in touch with reality ... at all, considering he has publicly spoken out as saying "no one in fashion works with anorexic models anymore," among other gems). Dedicating one editorial in a magazine to "Diversity," while continuing to use models that are 99% white, smaller-than-sample size, younger than age 25 in that same magazine, doesn't mean anything has been accomplished. Thoughts? 



    images courtesy of tfs

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    Hedi Slimane fans, rejoice! Saint Laurent has released its Fall 2013 ad campaign and its as Hedi as ever. The campaign, which is just another series of images that embody Slimane telling everything who doesn't like his style to f*ck off, features Southern California twins, Wyatt and Fletcher Shears. In addition to being exclusive Saint Laurent models, the the Shears are also the musicians behind The Garden, a skater punk band. If the Shears bros look familiar that's because they are regular fixtures on the Saint Laurent runway. Wyatt opened Slimane's Fall 2013 menswear show, and Fletcher closed the show. Check out the entire campaign below and tell us: Love it or hate it?
















    images courtesy of style.com

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    Just in time for Shark Week, Thai clothing label, Drycleanonly, which stocks on FarFetch, has decided to tap into the known goodwill of the iconic Paris-based design house by slapping the Chanel logo on the front of its very appropriately named "CC T-shirt" and then marked it up so that it retails for $400 - for a price tag that almost resembles that of Chanel. A true testament to Chanel's appeal, Drycleanonly's final product, which consists of a vintage shark print tee embellished with a bold double-C design, is sold out. 

    There seems to be a widespread misconception amongst designers and retailers that it is acceptable to use to the Chanel double-C logo without Chanel's authorization. So, here's a heads up: If you think its ok to use Chanel's trademark in your designs, its not. Its trademark infringement, and Chanel (and its legal team) notoriously polices unauthorized use of its trademark. As a result, such garments could (and very likely will) result in a cease and desist letter and maybe even a lawsuit. 

    image courtesy of farfetch

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    Another day, another one of Nasty Gal's stockists is responsible for some pretty blatant copying which likely amounts to copyright infringement. Australian-based online retailer, 8 Other Reasons, came to our attention and after a quick search of their site, it is no wonder why Nasty Gal stocks these goods. The pieces in question are not surprisingly "inspired by" (aka imitations of) those of independent and emerging jewelry design brands: Gemma Redux and FENTON FALLON - both of which are based in and manufacture their jewelry in New York City. FENTON FALLON's Dana Lorenz called the eery similarity between her Classique necklace (pictured after the break) and 8 Other Reasons' subsequent design (below) "disgusting and heartbreaking." 


    So, is this just another case of design piracy (which is perfect legal in the U.S.)? No. We very likely have copyright infringement on our hands here. While, there are some minor variations in each case, especially between the FALLON Classique Microspike Biker Choker and 8 Other Reasons' My Muse collar, the variations are just that ... minor. As you may know, jewelry (unlike the majority of garments) is often protected by copyright law. Due to the fact that most original jewelry is automatically protected by copyright as soon as it is created, 8 Other Reasons has a bit of an uphill battle here in terms of escaping copyright infringement claims from both Gemma Redux and FENTON FALLON. 

    As for whether 8 Other Reasons knew (or should have known) about the existence of the originals designs at issue here, it is quite likely. The Gemma Redux "inspired" necklace is basically an exact replica of the brand's Krisztina crystal necklace (pictured below), which was featured on Gossip Girl, as well as a few other television shows and on a handful of celebrities. FENTON FALLON has had its fair share of publicity, as well, being featured in Vogue and on everyone from Michelle Obama to Rihanna. So, I'm pretty sure that the "original creation" argument won't work in this case, and if I were 8 Other Reasons, I'd pull the pieces ... NOW, and stop copying others' designs. 

    FALLON Classique Biker Choker (left) & 8 Other Reasons' My Muse Collar (right)

    Gemma Redux Krisztina Necklace (left) & 8 Other Reasons' 5th Avenue Necklace (right)

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    German technical performance label, ACRONYM, is certainly growing - in more way than one. After opening an online store last year, the brand, which boasts the most fashion-forward, technology and performance-driven wares in the market, was able to meet the growing demand of its formerly hard-to-acquire pieces. As we told you in June, the brand is also gaining its fair share of industry admirers. Other brands are catching on and tapping into the well-known appeal of the ACRONYM brand. Gucci showed a jacket that was almost an exact replica of ACRONYM's GT-J5A jacket on its Spring 2014 runway, and now, Japanese label Mountain Research appears to be taking a cue from ACRONYM. However, the case at hand is quite bit different from the Gucci one.


    While the similarity between the two vests pictured below is certainly striking, and would likely warrant a question of inspiration v. imitation? (much like we were faced with when Gucci blatantly copied the brand), it is a bit more complex than that this time around. For its ACRNM V1 vest, ACRONYM co-founder and creative director, Errolson Hugh, has stated that they were inspired by the Nato flak vest, a German military vest. (Hugh also apparently has no bad blood for Mountain Research designer, Kobayashi-san, saying "he is cool."). So, while Mountain Research may have been (and likely was) inspired by ACRONYM's take on this military style, it is quite difficult to place blame when the garment at issue is not all that novel in theory. (This is not to say that ACRONYM and its tech genius design team didn't alter the vest and make it their own). Either way, ACRONYM continues to make even more of a name for itself as the leader in the field of advanced styling and functionality, and so, it is only appropriate, I suppose, that others are inspired.

    ACRNM V1 vest (left) & Mountain Research's version (right) 

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    In case you weren't sure, the era of the supermodel is back. Christy, Naomi, Cindy, and Claudia are old news, and Karlie Kloss is here to fill the void. The very newly 21-year-old (who is 6 feet tall) has taken the runways by storm with her signature walk, chopped haircut and feminine pout. But it turns out that you can have too much of a good thing -- just ask the designers who refuse to cast her in their Fashion Week shows. In an interview for the September issue of Vanity Fair, Kloss talks about being a supermodel. When asked  what is the top excuse designers give for not using her in a show, Kloss' response: they tell her, "'You are too famous. No one will pay attention to the clothes.'" So, what is Karlie doing when she's not hitting the runway? Well, she is gracing the pages of Vogue and landing multi-million dollar contracts, endorsements and campaigns. Now that's supermodel status. And speaking of campaigns, maybe she will take the place of wild child Cara Delevingne, who was dropped by H&M thanks to that coke scandal. 

    image courtesy of tfs

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    Phillip Lim is coming to Target and it seems he is breaking the Designer x Mass-market retailer mold  quite a bit ... by way of a handbag. Most of the collabs we've seen distance themselves a bit from the designer's namesake wares, especially their claim-to-fame accessories (the ones that are frequently the most copied). For instance, Proenza Schouler didn't create a PS1 for its Target collection (and so, Target did that on its own). However, Lim is apparently channeling the appeal of his latest "it" bag, the Pashli bag (pictured below) for his Target collection, which is set to launch in September. The designer and winner of this year's CFDA Award for Accessories Design is offering a variation of his go-to bag for a fraction of the price, and he may be onto something really, really genius here!


    By making a more affordable version of one of his most sought-after items (and thus, one of his most copied items), the Pashli bag, he very well may be undercutting the competition. He is essentially positioning himself to go to war with his most hated competitors: the design pirates that are busy copying his "it" bag and selling pathetic versions of it on iOffer and other shady China-based sites for a fraction of the real price. This may be the beginning of something really groundbreaking in terms of fighting design piracy! Tell us what you think of the Pashli lookalike (which is set to retail for $35) and whether you plan on shopping his collection ... 



    images courtesy of tfs

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    We thought that given the intense frequency with which the Cambridge Satchel was copied over the past couple of years, that the demand for fakes would eventually die down but that doesn't seem to be the case. As the Cambridge Satchel Company, which was awarded a British Red Ribbon Award last month for its position as one of the most promising privately-owned British brands, continues to expand (the company quadrupled its production space with a new factory beginning last month) and introduce new colors and styles, there is still quite a market out there for fakes. For instance, the yellow fluoro lookalike (pictured after the break) available on Evie Knight, an online retailer that has been coined as the British Nasty Gal, which is hardly a compliment. So, while these bags may look alike (kind of), I can assure you the difference in quality is enormous.


    Cambridge Satchel fluoro satchel (left) & Evie Knight's Sonic satchel (right)

    Now, to save everyone the effort of commenting on the fact that Julie Deane and the Cambridge Satchel team did not invent the satchel, I know and I agree. They did not invent the satchel, which has been an English staple for centuries, literally. However, I must raise two points: 1) Prior to the Cambridge Satchel company setting up shop, no one was toting around fluorescent, pastel or see-through satchels, nor did they have ones with fringe (a la Cambridge Satchel's collab with Christopher Shannon); 2) Last August, Cambridge Satchel won the lawsuit it brought against Zatchels, its former manufacturer-turned-design pirate, and as a result, Zatchels was forced to pay Cambridge Satchel an undisclosed sum. If the outcome of this lawsuit is any indication, Cambridge Satchel is onto something original, even if it is derived from something old (which is actually the case for almost everything in fashion nowadays, anyway). Shop the real thing here!

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    Parsons School of Design may not be interested in John Galliano, but Oscar de la Renta is! According to WWD, the disgraced designer-turned-reformed man is said to be in talks with de la Renta about a more permanent position at the NYC-based fashion house. This follows de la Renta’s decision to name Galliano as a “designer in residence” for three weeks in his studio this past January. Earlier this year, WWD asked de la Renta if Galliano would be back for spring 2014 (the collection for which is presented in September). He said, “We all loved having John here in the studio and would like to find a way of having him here more often.” Oscar de la Renta's CEO Alex Bolen also commented on Galliano, saying: "As we have said before, we are deeply impressed with John's talent and would love to find a way to work with him in the future. To date, we have not found that way." So, is Galliano in? We really hope so! And for those who still hate Galliano, here's something to consider

    image courtesy of tfs

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    Menswear visionary, Marlon Gobel, knows a thing or two about luxury. His beautifully tailored wares are constructed from some of the finest materials and made ethically in New York, and he was the first menswear designer to collaborate with footwear god, Christian Louboutin. So, when the designer talks luxury we listen. His latest project? An art installation, of course. Entitled, "Thirst for Luxury," Gobel has created a play on words, as well as a comment on the current and overwhelming obsession with luxury labels ... by way of a few beverage cans and a few designer logos (think: YSL, Gucci, Prada, and Chanel, among others). We will save the trademark discussion for another day and argue that this is art. See more after the break and share your thoughts with us. I think Tom Ford is my favorite!  


    images courtesy of marlon gobel

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    It seems that online retailers, 8 Other Reasons and MINUSEY got our message, as the two sites have taken action. We told you earlier this week that Australia-based retailer (that stocks with Nasty Gal), 8 Others Reasons, was offering a nearly exact replica of NYC-based Gemma Redux's Krisztina necklace. The company has since pulled the lookalike Fifth Avenue necklace, and we commend them for honoring Gemma Redux's original design (and their copyright protection). Now, if only we could get 8OR to budge and remove the FALLON-"inspired" necklace (we haven't given up hope). Here at TFL, we believe in affordable fashion, but not at the expense of others' intellectual property. And speaking of IP ... 


    Korea-based MINUSEY has vowed to remove all Chanel-related items from its site. According to an e-mail we received from a MINUSEY exec, they will remove the items at issue, which are all likely infringing Chane;s trademarks, "within the week, regardless of any remaining stock." Also of interest, their explanation for why the Chanel-like goods existed on the site in the first place. The site's manager, who apologized for the infringing wares (some of which are pictured below), told me: "We tend to believe what the manufacturers say about some of the items." So, a heads up for anyone that does the same: the likelihood that new authentic Chanel earrings (even if they are plastic) retail for $20 or a Chanel sweatshirt for $60 is impossible. No word yet on the Balenciaga, Hermes, and Cartier lookalikes. However, this marks another victory of TFL and original design! More to come ... 

    images courtesy of tfs, minusey

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    European Custom controllers have seized IP infringing goods totaling over $1 billion, according to a recent European Commission report. In 2012, more than 39 million different items were seized at European borders, with 65 percent of the goods originating in China. The United Arab Emirates was in second place as the origin country for 8.37 percent of confiscated goods, followed by Hong Kong with almost 8 percent. So, while the most items in terms of quantity were cigarettes, followed by miscellaneous goods such as bottles, lamps, glue, batteries and washing powder, fashion plays an important role in the report, nonetheless. Counterfeit luxury goods represent one of the most valuable classes of goods. Watches; bags, wallets and purses; and clothing were three of the top four most value categories of goods seized. This comes a little surprise given the fashion industry's unending fight against fakes. According to a recent court filing, Paris-based design hosue, Chanel, claims: "Each year Chanel expends millions of dollars in connection with trademark enforcement efforts, including legal fees, investigative fees, and support mechanisms for law enforcement." See just how luxury goods were seized and how much they're work after the break ... 


    images courtesy of tfl

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    Retail employees, take note: Lacoste salesman, Wade Groom, who became the brand's top salesman (in the entire country) after three short months of working, just got fired. Last Wednesday, Groom, who worked at the brand's NYC flagship, got the boot after posting a photo of his paycheck on his personal Instagram account. According to Groom: "I was happy with my job, [the photo] had nothing to do with how much money I was making." The self-proclaimed artist and a musician (and father of two) was approached by the brand's HR manager, who informed him that the image infringes the confidentiality agreement that Groom signed with Lacoste. He told AOL Jobs: "I guess I signed a confidentiality agreement with something about social media, but who reads those? I had to sign to get the job."

    image courtesy of tfs

    The message that accompanied the picture read: "Paycheck. Still silly to me. Ever since I was a kid I've thought it was completely insane that we have to work all our lives. I still feel that way. Especially when it's only enough to live in a third world apartment with s****y everything. Which for some reason in NYC is ok. Anywhere else only trailer trash live this way. I'm done with it."

    Because Groom did, in fact, sign an agreement to keep certain aspects of his employment confidential, it doesn't seem that Lacoste is acting erroneously. While discussing pay is part of the legally-protected activity of discussing working conditions with colleagues (as long as you're not a supervisor), in accordance with the National Labor Relations Act, Groom isn't protected here. 

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    Without fail, every time I am on Mercer Street in Soho, I see the sign for ASH footwear and get really excited. And its not because I am in the market for Isabel Marant-like wedge sneakers, it is because from far away the Italy-based, French-designed footwear label's sign looks like Diptyque's logo (and I have been waiting for them to open up shop in Soho). In case you're not familiar with Diptyque, it is a legendary French perfumer and maker of luxury scented candles, and its world-renowned oval logo, which is present on all of its candles and fragrances with the name of the scent, is synonymous with the Diptyque brand. Not surprisingly, the Paris-based company, which was founded in 1961 (about 40 years before ASH), has trademarked several variations of its logo internationally, including its oval design, with U.S. federal registrations dating back to 2002, in classes that cover fragrances/cosmetics and candles. 


    Interestingly, ASH also has trademarked its logo, a stylized word mark, which consists of its logo (pictured above) in the classes for leather goods and footwear. The company, whose clients include Rihanna, Lindsay Lohan, Hillary Duff, and a handful of models, received federal registration for this mark in 2009. So, because the two parties goods are sufficiently different, it appears they are able to operate harmoniously in the market, and for those (like me), who are confused and excited from a distance, quickly learn that the store they thought was Diptyque is, in fact, a glorified sneaker store. Thoughts?


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    Hardcore punk band Black Flag's guitarist and his record label sued other members of the band in a Los Angeles federal court, claiming they violated trademark law by using the band's name and "distinctive four-bar logo" without the authorization to do so. Gregory Ginn and SST Records sued the band's front man Henry Rollins and the other five members, seeking an injunction, as well as profits reaped from the use of the trademarks, and actual and punitive damages and costs. This is relevant for us because Singapore-based label, O-MIGHTY, which stocks at Karmaloop, Nasty Gal, and soon to be available at Urban Outfitters, is also using the band's "distinctive four-bar logo" without the authorization to do so. See the two shirts after the break ... 


    If faced with a trademark infringement lawsuit, O-MIGHTY would likely cite fair use (via parody) because all of these t-shirts (from the Homies to Cuntier wares) are conveniently being labelled as parodies as of late. As for whether that would be a successful defense in court is debatable. Namely, because "parody," is a legal term of art, which is determined by a court and often makes for a lengthy debate. Read a bit about the trademark infringement v. parody distinction here

    Blag Flag's tee (left) & O-MIGHTY's version (right)
    images courtesy of omighty, justjared

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    A few more photos from Phillip Lim's impending collection of Target have emerged. Catch our thoughts on the mini-Pashli bag (hint: Phillip Lim is a GENIUS) and see more looks after the break ... 



    images courtesy of tfs, t magazine

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