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Sunday
Nov112012

TFG Exclusive: Book of the Month

We're going for a bit of edge in our November pick for book of the month. Mainstream may associate Pharrell Williams with music more than fashion, but Pharrell's creative force has manifested itself into various design collaborations. In his new book Pharell: Places and Spaces I've Been, the musician not only accounts his extensive musical career and projects, but he also details his other creative endeavors that include all of the following: clothing lines, jewelry, and accessories designs for Louis Vuitton, furniture and other product design, limited-edition toys, graphic designs, skate graphics, and collaborations with Moncler, Marc Jacobs, the artist KAWS, and with architects Zaha Hadid and Masamichi Katayama/Wonderwall. 

Through his book, Pharrell strays from the classic chronological autobiographical model and provides an account of his unique career through a more graphic design approach. At the crossroads of art, design, popular culture, and street, this visionary can talk to you about Chanel's black jacket exhibit, then turn around and create a pop hit for Madonna and Miley Cyrus, all while forwarding along his passion for education and natural design sensibility through The Pharrell Williams Resource Center. Say what you will, in a world where "jack of all trades, master of none" has become commonplace, Pharrell has managed to master them all. His book is worth your time if you're ever curious to see how the mind of a Renaissance man works. Produced in different colors, you can pick up a copy here.

Saturday
Nov102012

War of the Burches

A "drunken WASP fest" is how Tory’s trial judge, Leo Strine of Delaware Chancery Court, described the case. His words, not mine. As covered in our previous post, Chris Burch filed suit on October 2, 2012 against his ex-wife and Tory Burch LLC for breach of contract and interference with the sale of his 28 percent stake, worth $600 million, in the Tory Burch line. This was after rumblings that his ex-wife was considering suing Chris Burch for trade dress infringment over his C. Wonder line. Initially, the fashion designer responded to the litigation in an NBC interview. But just this last week, Tory took legal steps and had her lawyers file an answer and counterclaims to her ex-husband's suit.

In her court papers, Tory's lawyers cited breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, equitable relief, unfair competition, misappropriation of trade secrets and deceptive trade practices. She is looking for injunctive relief, damages and attorneys’ fees and expenses. The designer alleges that her former husband “repeatedly asked for and was given full complete access to competitively sensitive information about the company [Tory Burch LLC] and its best-selling products” in order to create the retail concept C. Wonder. Tory considers C. Wonder a "knock-off" of the Tory Burch retail concept, in everything from the store fixtures, furnishings, area rugs, and wall treatments to the sweater designs, button details, and general aesthetic. In her counterclaim, Tory's lawyers cited examples in which media outlets have confused C. Wonder with Tory Burch. However, Chris's lawyer responded that his client has not violated Tory's intellectual property. "These are timeless styles that other people invented. I don’t think Tory Burch invented the cardigan, the gold button or the ballet flat.” Since this is the latest fashion law case that keeps on giving, we'll be sure to keep our readers updated with any further developments. 

Image Courtesy of NYmag.com

Sunday
Nov042012

TFG Exclusive: Style Curator 

 

The Fashion Grid: Ladylike Lace

 

Catherine Deane lace cocktail dress
$860 - harveynichols.com

 

Lanvin platform shoes
bergdorfgoodman.com

 

Chanel
tooklookbook.com

 

 

Monday
Oct292012

TFG Exclusive: Fashion Quote of the Day

"Fashion is something you attach to yourself, put on, and through that interaction the meaning of it is born. Without the wearing of it, it has no meaning, unlike a piece of art. It is fashion because people want to buy it now, because they want to wear it now, today. Fashion is only the right now."

-Rei Kawakubo (of Comme des Garçons)

Saturday
Oct272012

Zara vs. Zara and Lily: A Lesson for Small Business Owners

This case is a great example of why small business owners should never decide on a name for their business without conducting a thorough trademark search through an attorney. Two years ago, an Australian based "mumpreneur", Shelley Tilbrook, decided to launch an online gift store called ZaraandLily.com, or Zara + Lily. Tilbrook came up with the trademark by combining the names of her daughter, Zara, and niece, Lily. Sweet, right?

Well apparently the major Spanish retailer Zara, Inc. didn't think so and their Australian lawyer sent the mumpreneur a cease and desist letter demanding that they cancel their business name and domain name, claiming it is "substantially similar or deceptively similar" to its client's. Like the United States, the trademark laws in Australia are all about preventing consumer confusion. And while Zara did not waste time in protecting their brand name, its PR team released the following statement to soften the legal ramifications:

"Zara Australia wants to underline its high respect for Ms. Tilbrook's initiative and has tried to demonstrate this throughout the process. We cannot forget that Zara originated from a small family business in apparel manufacturing and, as a result, the brand is empathetic to all entrepreneurs."

Nevertheless, Tilbrook still had to learn an expensive lesson. She was left with 50,000 dollars worth of merchandise that she could no longer sell and had to pay an additional 15,000 dollars in rebranding and web costs. For a small business owner, that is quite a hefty amount that she could have avoided paying had she hired an attorney to conduct a proper trademark search. Given that her business was online and had the potential of reaching millions of consumers across the world, her business name was even more susceptible to infringing on someone's trademark than, say, its brick and mortar counterpart. We hope Tilbrook sought the help of a trademark attorney for her new name- Peach and Pear Kids- and that the success of her business will continue despite this first legal hiccup. And to other small business owners out there trying to come up with a name or trademark, do your research and don't underestimate the degree to which big time corporations will go to protect their brand name. To check out the video clip of the news segment covering this case, click here.