High fashion luxury labels have found themselves to be stuck somewhere in between our youth culture’s fashion craze: streetwear parodies of well-known luxury labels, and a trademark infringement lawsuit. David Lipke, in his article, “Designer Parodies Test Legal Boundaries in Streetwear” from Women’s Wear Daily, demonstrates how various streetwear designers have released clothing featuring designs bearing a strong resemblance to luxury logos, but in a humorous manner. Despite the initial appeal to this trend being founded by the underlying admiration of high fashion’s luxury brands, the upshot for these streetwear designers’ satisfying streetmarket consumers could be unpleasant legal ramifications.
Fashion companies utilize a mechanism called licensing to expand the brand and also increase revenue via royalties. So what exactly is licensing?
Licensing is the process of “renting” a fashion company’s intellectual property (generally trademarks) to another entity for use in conjunction with a product or service, for a sum of money called royalties. It is based on a contractual agreement between the owner of the property, known as the licensor, and the manufacturer or retailer, known as the licensee.
LICENSOR (IP Owner) + LICENSEE (Manufacturer) = LICENSED PRODUCT(s)
Technology, technology, technology. It is all we hear and read about, and whether we like it or not, technology is rapidly altering the world around us. Some are completely intrigued by it and some begrudgingly adapt to it in fear of falling behind the rest of society. Now you are probably wondering what technology advancement has to do with fashion law, and on the surface it may seem that technology does not directly affect the fashion industry. However, technology developments such as 3-D printing do affect retail products in ways that lie deeper than the surface of the finished products.
Bounded roughly by 34th and 40th streets between Broadway and Ninth Avenue, the Garment District took shape in the early 20th century. By the nineteen-twenties, the area became home to thousands of factories, showrooms, and offices dedicated to the garment trade. The Garment District produced more than three-quarters of America’s clothing.
Today, approximately three percent of the clothing we wear is made in America.
Last week I had the opportunity to meet with designer Joseph Altuzarra and his design assistant, Patricia Voto in their studio. Mr. Altuzarra provided me with some valuable insights into the practical and legal issues that fashion designers face.
I found Mr. Altuzarra and Ms. Voto currently working on their Resort 2014/pre-spring collection, which will show in May/June. Season to season, Mr. Altuzarra draws his inspiration by asking himself “who is the woman?” As a male designer, Mr. Altuzarra relies on women’s desires and what they want. He asks, “What do I want to wear?” “What do I think is desirable?”
The Model Alliance is a “growing network of models and industry leaders dedicated to improving working conditions in the American fashion industry.” The Model Alliance works to give models in the industry a voice.
As with many fashion-obsessed souls, I have spent countless nights dedicated to the fashionable world created by Patricia Field in “Sex and the City.” Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw is whom I always identified with most. She’s a romantic who is passionate about her city and is openly addicted when it comes to her clothes and shoes.
For years, Polo Ralph Lauren and the U.S. Polo Association have been hooking mallets over the use of their polo player trademarks.
In 1984, the long battle between the U.S. Polo Association and Polo Ralph Lauren began. At the time, a Manhattan federal court granted the USPA permission to use the “double horseman” logo on their merchandise, as long as it would not cause consumer confusion. The USPA’s double jockey logo bears a marked resemblance to Ralph Lauren’s mounted polo player.
As WWD reported last month, two Yves Saint Laurent biopics are slated for production: “Saint Laurent”, directed by Bertrand Bonello, and “Yves Saint Laurent”. However, only “Yves Saint Laurent” has the backing of Pierre Bergé, YSL’s former partner. Bergé, who inherited and subsequently sold much of YSL’s estate, surely has a unique recollection and perspective of YSL through personal experience, knowledge of YSL’s personal history and access to YSL’s personal records.