Tuesday, 30 June 2009
Is this an indication that department store expansions don't work? House of Fraser had a fleet of nationwide stores (including the once legendary but now closed Dickins & Jones and Barkers) but has found itself closing stores in the last 5 years. On the other hand, both Harvey Nichols and Selfridges have opened new stores in the UK. So what is key to successful expansion? geography? local competition? timing? excellent marketing and PR? Fashionista suspects it comes down to all of the above, and this leaves Fashionista wondering: is Liberty's news a positive indication that the market is turning (let's hope so), or is it clever PR spin on expansion that hasn't survived?
Thursday, 25 June 2009
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
Tuesday, 23 June 2009
Would you believe it? There's more than one Katie/y Perry. The US pop starlet (famed equally for her annoyingly catchy pop tunes and bizarre fashion sense) Katy Perry (real name Katheryn Hudson) isn't happy. And here's why.
Australian fashion designer Katie Perry (real name Katie Perry - but sometimes Katie Howell) filed for an Australian trade mark last September (i.e. when Katy Perry had just exploded onto the music scene) to protect her name for clothing. Katy (with a -y) also plans to file for an Australian trade mark. News reports have it that US Katy has asked Australian Katie to stop using her own name for her clothing range, withdraw her trade mark application, and other relief you would expect from a cease and desist letter. Oh, and she's filed an opposition against the designer's mark. The US singer has since posted on her blog to say that she isn't suing Katie Perry - but simply putting her on notice of the American's rights (who is also filing for Australian trade mark protection), but the opposition is yet to be withdrawn.
So here is the issue. At what point are you not entitled to trade under your own name? In the UK, a registered trade mark is not infringed by a person's use of his own name, provided that the use is "in accordance with honest practices in industrial or commercial matters" (and, of course, that last bit is a grey area...).
This dispute brings home the importance of protecting your brand by securing trade mark registrations early on. Wait until your business has taken off and you may be too late if someone else has already registered your name as a trade mark. Whilst logic (and a perfect world) would assume that anyone should be entitled to use their own name, the reality is that a trade mark registration can prevent this. Designers (or celebrities who put their names to clothing or accessory ranges) are often caught out because they are not using their name "personally" - but instead, through a company. Although UK law has an "own name defence", this only applies if you are using your mark in your own name - and not through a company. Realistically, few designers operate in this way.
Fashionista wonders how this will play out before the Australian trade mark registry, particularly as the Australian designer has identified herself as Katie Howell on her trade mark application. Is this a case of possible co-existence between the two Kates, or will infringement successfully be argued? In which case, given that trade marks are national rights, which of the two Kates will be the infringing one in Australia?
Monday, 22 June 2009
Potential changes to this legislation which are being discussed by the European institutions would greatly increase this burden however. The draft provisions require operators to obtain users' "consent" to their use. One of the problems with this change is that it is not clear what is meant by consent. There is a real risk however that it could be construed as requiring an "opt in" prior consent. This would be very uncommercial for websites and the advertising industry and is it really protecting individuals in an appropriate manner? The last thing Fashionista wants when trying to race to the latest sales bargains on her favourite sites, is to be confronted with lots of pop up boxes about cookies.
The European institutions aren't going to be discussing this change again until mid September but hopefully this will give some more time for industry lobbying to ensure a proportionate and commercial approach is taken.
Friday, 19 June 2009
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Jeff Banks (Designer amongst other roles),
Professor Frances Marie Corner (Head of London College of Fashion)
Natalie Massenet (Founder and Chair of Net-A-Porter.com)
Safia Laila Minney (Founder and Director of People Tree)
...who have all been honoured in the Queen's 2009 Birthday Honours List for services to the Fashion Industry and, also for services to Charity and services to Fair Trade for Jeff Banks and Safia Minney respectively.
Fashionista is thrilled to see that leaders in her favourite industry are being recognised so highly for the work they do - and across such a broad spectrum: design; education; charity; sales; and ethical sourcing to bring green issues to light.
Saturday, 13 June 2009
- The landscape of "paid search" results has changed dramatically since the Google AdWords policy change. It is now possible to buy a 3rd party's trade mark as a keyword, so that when someone types that mark into a Google search engine, your website appears as a sponsored link.
- Questions were raised as to whether this was "legal". Clearly, it is allowed under the Google AdWords policy, but the question of whether it is a trade mark infringement is currently awaiting determination by the European Court of Justice. There are a number of pending references to the ECJ on this very topic so we will have to wait to see what they conclude.
- The importance of protecting your brand from the outset was emphasised and a good tip was make sure that your brand name wasn't overly descriptive as this makes it harder to protect - the best brand names in terms of being able to protect them are those that are arbitrary and have little to do with the actual product. Registering the trade marks is crucial as well as buying the key domain names in the .uk and .com space.
- Recovering domain names which infringe on your trade mark is not as difficult as you might think and there are various ways of doing this - depending on the rights that you have and what the domain name is being used for.
Fashionista picked up some useful information and met some fabulous people - roll on the next event!
Friday, 12 June 2009
"On Tuesday, June 9, Facebook, Inc., a social networking website company based in the United States, publicly announced that beginning Saturday, June 13th at 12:01 a.m. U.S. EDT, users of the Facebook website will be allowed for the first time to create personalized URLs for their Facebook pages (facebook.com/yourname). Facebook, Inc. has created an online form for rights owners interested in preventing their trademarks from being registered as usernames by Facebook users. Trademark owners can reserve their trademark on the Facebook platform by submitting relevant information to Facebook, Inc. through their trademark protection contact form, available at http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=username_rights. If you have further questions or concerns, please contact Facebook directly or see its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, available at http://www.facebook.com/help.php?page=896. "
Although the registration page implies that a trade mark registration (rather than application) is required, there is very little information provided as to eligibility or the evidence of the trade mark right required. Further, the online form requires the trade mark to be inserted together with its registration number, but without any box to insert the relevant jursidication.
While the form may not be perfect, it only takes 5 minutes to complete and will, according to Facebook, prevent a third party from incorporating your brand into their Facebook username. On this basis , it seems to Fashionista that it is worth spending the 5 minutes needed to register your brand and prevent someone else from getting there first!
Thursday, 11 June 2009
Hogg's people apparently argued that Susie had violated intellectual property rights by posting a photo of an item that she hadn't bought, but Fashionista suspects that the real issue was that the designer wanted to keep a tight rein over the publication of images of her products as, to be fair, most designers do. However, control can only go so far and given the corresponding negative publicity that Pam Hogg has attracted via Susie's blog (413 commentators have expressed their opinion on the Bubble's follow up post "Hogg Roasted" of 2 June 2009 and most are anti-Hogg comments), Fashionista suspects that Pam Hogg's people are wishing they hadn't taken the matter quite so seriously - talk about a storm in a catsuit!
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
It's another fantastic celebrity and high street store partnership which certainly sorts out the question of what presents to buy whilst promising to make Fashionista look the most fashionable of doting aunties ever.
The range is expected to launch at the end of this year so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for delivery annoucements and waiting lists nearer the time to ensure you don't miss out.
Tuesday, 9 June 2009
Originally the choice of adventurers on exploration to the Antarctic, Jaeger is now the choice of fashionistas on exploration to find a luxury brand which is fashionable, functional, fun, elegant, timeless. Jaeger has stood the test of time and for this it has much to celebrate as it reaches its 125th anniversary. The brand originally focused on the benefits of clothing made from natural fibres, and Jaeger (named after Dr Gustav Jaeger, professor of zoology and physiology and who poineered the benefits of animal hair in clothing) remains true to this thinking today, sourcing the purest cotton to the softest cashmere. Fashionista is thrilled to see that one of Britain's oldest brands is doing so well and not only fighting off the competition, but challenging and directing it.
There is much to be said for a birthday fanfare. In the current economic doom-and-gloom, it is refreshing to see a brand with something to celebrate. The psychological message is strong: this is a brand that is not buckling under the pressure of the economy. Its longevity is a testament to the strength of the brand, reinforcing its reputation as a serious player in the fashion world and increasing customer appeal. If the brand sends out such an encouraging message, customers will surely be encouraged by what the brand provides. After all, surviving 125 years in an industry where the customer is faced with immense choice and loyalty can be fickle suggests that Jaeger is doing something very right.
To celebrate its 125th birthday, Jaeger is honouring its heritage with the help of fashion curators Amy de la Haye and Judith Clark from London College of Fashion, who hosted an exhibition at the London College of Fashion earlier this year showing pieces from Jaeger's archives and who have co-authored the book "Jaeger 125". Fashionista turned the pages of the book with fascination, as she was taken on a journey illustrating the history and development of this iconic brand and documenting its success. Jaeger has also launched the 125 Collection - a capsule clothing collection drawing its inspiration from the brand's archives and putting a modern spin on a few key designs from the 60s: the defining era in Jaeger's history.
For the Fashionista-at-Law Birthday Q&A, Fashionista was lucky enough to speak with Shailina Parti, Buying Director for Jaeger, and asked:
(1) What is the Jaeger brand?
Jaeger is an iconic, stylish lifestyle brand stretching from womenswear to mens, to fragrance, to home - built on luxury, quality, style and wit. Whimsical and fun, it does not take itself too seriously. It is confident and bold with clean lines and fabulous fabrics.
(2) Who is the Jaeger customer and how has she changed over the years?
A confident woman of 35 and older who wants beautifully made and well fitted contemporary fashion. At first, she touches the fabric. If it feels wonderful, she'll try it on. She wants to look and feel fabulous in what she wears. It used to be that the brand was perceived to be for mothers and fathers. But with Jaeger appearing at London Fashion Week alongside Topshop and other youth brands, and lowering the price point for certain products, it is now appealing to the younger fashionista, so that mothers and daughters have a one-stop shop for their fashion needs. Jaeger dresses women, certainly. But the menswear collection does surprisingly well amongst young men who, armed with their first big paycheque or bonus and wanting to treat themselves to a great quality suit, are increasingly heading to Jaeger. Menswear is hardly advertised. There is no PR drive. The quality and fit of the suits are the selling point.
(3) What inspires Jaeger?
Everything around us: vintage markets, films, art. Exhibitions at London museums are a regular source of inspiration. You can guarantee that if there is a Byzantine exhibition in a museum, you will see Byzantine inspired pieces appearing on the market shortly after. Importantly, Jaeger's own archives are a great inspiration, showing that great designs transcend time.
(4) What does the future hold for the brand?
Further development of the luxury lifestyle values. The Internet has provided an incredible sales platform, allowing the brand to reach a far wider audience and attracting: new and younger customers; those who may not otherwise have entered a store; customers who are time-pressed but know they can rely on the quality, design and fit of Jaeger clothes; and - importantly - "Rural Fashionistas" who may be after catwalk items which are only available online or in the Regent Street flagship store. An online presence goes hand-in-hand with the brand's international expansion and Jaeger's plans to broaden the range of products, introducing a larger range at a more accessible price point to rival top end high street favourites such as Hobbs and Reiss, together with expanding the Jaeger Black demi couture range for that ultra-special piece.
Fashionista happily remembers raiding her mother's wardrobe as a little girl and dressing up in beautiful Jaeger pieces. A few decades later, and Fashionista is raiding her own wardrobe to dress up in her own beautiful Jaeger pieces. In the words of one of the iconic brand's early advertising slogans: "We don't sell clothes, we dress women". Fashionista says: Happy Birthday Jaeger, and thank you for dressing us so well!
Monday, 8 June 2009
Fashionista has been listening to the financial pundits and agrees that Whispering Smith may find that now is the right time for a shopping spree. And although a good name counts for a lot in some circles, Fashionista is less sure that the name of a holding company is that important. Perhaps the trendy young brands in Whispering Smith's sights may prefer to be bought by a group with an interesting name but ultimately survival, especially in this market, will be uppermost in their throughts.
Friday, 5 June 2009
"The worn-in leather jacket with double collar costs £175, and has become something of a classic since Beckham first stepped out in it in 2007, with 70,000 sales to date and 25,000 on order for this autumn".