It turns out there is no bad blood between Vetements and DHL in connection with the much talked-about brand’s t-shirt that depicts the German shipping company’s logo. The t-shirt, which comes from the young Paris-based brand’s Spring/Summer 2016 collection, would raise some interesting intellectual property (read: trademark) questions but given what appears to be a deal between the two parties, Vetements is legally in the clear.
According to a statement from DHL to us this week, “The French design label has designed a DHL-print cotton-blend T-shirt to pay tribute to the heritage courier service, DHL.” This suggest that we either have a licensing deal at play, in which Vetements approached DHL upfront and agreed to pay DHL for a limited right to use its logo, or after the fact, DHL figured it could get some free, high fashion press and agreed to let Demna Gvasalia’s brand use the logo for a limited run. But given the somewhat widespread offering of the t-shirt (it’s being stocked everywhere from Nordstrom to SSENSE for $330), a monetary component from Vetements to DHL is likely inevitable.
As retailer Kirna Zabete notes on its site in connection with the t-shirt: “Reinterpreted classic tee shirt from Vetements constructed with a tight torso and narrow shoulders to form an hourglass silhouette.” Interestingly, while Vetements has, in fact, altered the style of the classic t-shirt, that, alone, does not prevent it from needing authorization from DHL. It’s use of the DHL trademark-protected logo would amount to trademark infringement without DHL’s authorization. Given the lack of pending litigation between the two parties and the positive statements that DHL is making in connection with the tee, we can certainly assume that this almost certainly isn’t illegal use on the part of Vetements but more of an unlikely collaboration of sorts.