Les (Art)ists is a self-proclaimed “small brand created by friends in Paris” that specializes in t-shirts inspired by US football jerseys for men and women. The brand has somewhat recently began hawking tees with Slimane and the number 68 on the back, as well as ones with Margiela, Tisci, Wang, Simons and the list goes on. The only problem is (aside from some brand owner’s trademark infringement arguments): NYC-based brand LPD New York does the same thing. LPD New York (formerly known as “Les Plus Dorés” – Yes, they pulled a Hedi Slimane name-change minus much of the backlash and confusion) hit the scene last year, and in the summer of 2012 they received quite a bit of press for their Dream Team collection. They put designers’ last names along with their birth year on the back of t-shirts (and now tank tops, too) and the shirts sold like crazy. VFILES stocked them, Givenchy’s Riccardo ordered some with his name on them, every major street style star has worn one. It seems that either Les (Art)ists wanted in on the proven appeal of LPD’s wares or they independently conceived of the lookalike tees.
Les (Art)ists started their brand last year, as well. In November 2012, the brand debuted jersey-style tees to create a team of artists, hence the brand name. I guess they started a doubles tennis team, as their debut consisted of only two players: Murakami and Kaws. They have subsequently added Basquiat, Bolin, and Warhol. Then in January of this year, they started receiving some press for their Designer Team, the one that very much mimics the LPD collection. In fact, the two collections are so similar that I’m not sure that anyone (minus the respective brand owners) could actually tell the difference between the two brand’s wares on the street.
In case that’s not enough, the two brands, which each boast some pretty spectacular stockists, have one in common. They both stock at Colette in Paris. In addition, Les (Art)ists tees, which retail for €45.00 (approximately $60), stock at Selfridges in London, Restir in Tokyo or Harvey Nichols in Dubaï, and Luis Via Roma online. LPD, whose wares retail for $85, stocks at VFILES in New York, Lane Crawford in Hong Kong and Beijing, Browns in London, and Kabuki in Paris, among quite a few other brick-and-mortar locations, and Net-A-Porter online.
LPD New York (left) & Les (Art)ists (right)