Ain’t Laurent Without Yves lawsuit
I just finished the Socket Greeny Saga, a 600+ page trilogy written by Tony Bertauski that dives deep into a world of future tech and duplicated… well… people. They act like people, can eat, breathe and screw just like you or I. The difference is, they’re comprised entirely of nanobots that are quite naturally, evil. You’re waiting for me to turn this into a fashion story right? Okay here goes…
Recently, Jeanine Heller, the woman in charge of that parody shirt with the clever slogan “Ain’t Laurent Without Yves” (in place of YSL) has been slapped with a lawsuit. Where’s the connection to Bertauski’s trilogy? Well aside from being pure EVIL… they’re complete duplicates.
Not duplicate in a “knock off” sense… but If Heller chose to use a different font, if she chose to make it and keep it between her friends, if she paid out royalties and had binding legal agreements to YSL before selling millions of these shirts (which would never happen)… maybe this would be excusable. But since none of that happened, cease and desists were served and ignored and now a subpoena has been sent and she’s gonna get the book thrown at her.
This reminds me of the case against Deadmau5 from Disney. For those of you who don’t know, Deadmau5 is a DJ from Toronto who wears a costume that resembles Mickey Mouse’s head. But since he is a well known electronic music producer, he didn’t have to pay a fine and in fact, after counter suing (which is basically mandatory these days) he may be working with the magical company on their global Fantasia tour. I don’t however think this will be the fairy tale ending for Heller.
On one hand there is well defined copyright infringement… on the other, there is someone who means well and is having fun and giving birth to newness which stems from a previous product or idea.
- Did her shirts sell because of the fonts used which are duplicates to the brand they were ripping off?
- Would you buy her shirts?
- Do you own any of her shirts?
- If so, why did you buy it? (her site is here, btw)
Humour? Satire? To trick people into thinking it was the brand it was similar to? Don’t lie…
I have to admit, I laughed out loud when I saw the “Ain’t Laurent without Yves” shirt. It was political, fun to say and was a kick in the gonads to Hedi Slimane who, at the same time the doppelgänger brand was launched had been announced as the head designer of YSL. Poor Slimane… but he needed an attitude adjustment. Dropping “Yves” from Yves Saint Laurent” and moving the fashion house from Paris to L.A. Just because it suits you… not okay.
But damages to the brand? If a t-shirt can “damage your brand” then you have a lot more to worry about. Like if someone made a shirt that said Marquis of Flatulence I’d buy a hundred, sign them, and sell them for double. Take a page out of the Marc Jacobs handbook. A graffiti punk tagged his store in Manhattan and instead of crying to the police and slapping a lawsuit on this low life, he took a picture of the tagged facade, printed it on “limited edition shirts” then turned around and sold them for like… $400!
What a genius. That’s making lemonade from lemons!
What do you think will happen to Jeanine Hellers?
Oh, you can regular updates (if you care to follow up on what’s going on with Ms Heller) from Fashion Law here.