WWD Talks Designer "Parodies"

WWD finally wrote an article on designer "parodies." Here are some of the key (aka most interesting) points:

The legal test for parody– The legality of a parody rests on two key legal tests: whether there is actual consumer confusion between the two brands and whether there is dilution of the original brand’s value, said Joseph Gioconda, an attorney who specializes in intellectual property cases and whose clients include Hermès. “It’s fair to say that in the designer community, there is a spectrum of opinion about these types of activities,” said Gioconda. “On one end of the spectrum are companies like Louis Vuitton who have taken a very aggressive stance to the use of their name or logo in any context. Other brands see it as a relatively inconsequential act with no direct threat to their own commercial value. Brands have different cultures and sensibilities.”

Some designers like them– Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy [a die-hard streetwear fan] and Olivier Rousteing at Balmain may be two designers who appreciate streetwear’s current fascination with luxury logos. Earlier this month, Tisci posted a photo of LPD’s “Tisci” jersey to his own Instagram feed. According to LPD founder Benjamin Fainlight, a number of “Tisci” T-shirts and jerseys have been ordered by the Givenchy office in Paris. Givenchy declined to comment.

Similarly, Rousteing has posted a photo on his Instagram feed of himself wearing a sweatshirt by Criminal Damage that riffs on the Balmain logo, turning it into “Ballin.’” Balmain declined to comment as well.

Some designers don't like them– Other companies have taken a more overtly hostile stance toward perceived infringements of their trademarks. Earlier this year, lawyers for Dolce & Gabbana sent LPD a cease-and-desist letter after the New York company hosted a pop-up shop at Lane Crawford that included its “Gabbana” jerseys. “They thought it would cause brand confusion. I respect their wishes, but I think they’re misunderstanding the concept,” said Fainlight.