Fashion August, 30 2013

Designer Parodies Test Legal Boundaries in Streetwear

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The wonderful people at WWD have put together a fantastic article that we believe will pique your interest as it involves the many designer parodies that we have come to love. Instead of Hermès, swagger-jackers across the globe can rock “Homiés” sweatshirts by Brian Lichtenberg; instead of Balmain, there’s the “Nawman” T-shirts by Reason Clothing; and instead of authentic Givenchy, a “Tisci” football jersey by LPD New York will do. Luxury fashion houses and their famous logos are being “re-created” by streetwear brands–indicative of the ongoing dialogue between high fashion and youth culture.

Central to the trend, however, are the legal issues of trademark protection — and what legal strategies designer brands should pursue to guard their logos while cultivating a potential constituency of style-savvy customers.

“I think this is a very current trend and issue. You have the convergence of constitutional law, free-speech issues, intellectual property law and a general overlay of business and commercial law. It’s a fascinating area,” said Douglas Hand, a partner at Hand Baldachin & Amburgey, a firm with a large fashion industry practice. “I think designer brands should be very vigilant to these issues. The main value of these companies is their intellectual property, specifically, their trademarks. Given that, to not diligently police and enforce trademarks in this industry is just not good business.”

For the remainder of the article please visit wwd.com.