Results tagged “Louis Vuitton”

Feb201308
07:16 PM
elayne angel trademark tattoo.jpgI had a wonderful time yesterday at Fordham Law School for the Fashion Law Institute's discussion entitled Art Attacks: Perspectives on the Use of Fashion Logos, where I chatted on their panel along with Ralph Lauren's in-house counsel Anna Dalla Val; brand consultant and former in-house counsel of Louis Vuitton, Michael Pantalony; and David De Buck, owner of the De Buck Gallery, whose roster includes prominent street artists. The panel -- and the Fashion Law Institute as a whole -- is the brainchild of Susan Scafidi, whom I've had a law nerd crush on for a long time after discovering her fantastic blog, Counterfeit Chic, many years ago. She's a pioneer in fashion law, which -- like tattoo law -- is constantly developing and is pretty exciting.

The focus of the discussion was fashion logos and their appropriation in art as well as commerce. Naturally, I gave the tattoo perspective. As requested in our Facebook group, I'll give y'all a taste of my talk.

But before we get to it ... What is a Trademark or Servicemark?
  • Trademark & Servicemark protect the owner's reputation and goodwill.
  • A Trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.
  • A Servicemark is the same except it relates to the source of a service, like tattooing.
So, think of it as protecting your brand, identity and logo. Now, as the US Trademark & Patent Office says, federal registration isn't required to establish your rights in a trademark/servicemark. Common law rights arise from actually using of a mark, which could be in advertising, your shop signage, business cards, and the like. But you get perks with registration: greater protection of your name or logo; it discourages others from ripping off your brand; and you get more money should you sue for infringement and win. There are many other benefits as well, but the big motivators are protection & profit.

registered tattoo.jpg Ok, with that in mind, I started my talk off with the very first tattoo to be issued a registration by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: Master piercer Elayne Angel's famous wings backpiece, tattooed by the infamous Bob Roberts in 1987 -- a tattoo that inspiring a myriad of copies throughout the world.

Those wings just didn't become easily identifiable with Elayne, but her piercing services and Rings of Desire studio in New Orleans (which closed post-Katrina). It was Elayne's brand.

In 2003, when I wrote "The Tattoo Copyright Controversy," I interviewed Elayne about her servicemarked tattoo, which had been registered the year before. She explained that a customer, who was a lawyer, told her that he felt her wings were recognizable enough -- in relation to her as a professional piercer -- that protection was warranted. The process took six years but, on November 5, 2002, her backpiece was registered. It was not just the first tattoo registered, but it is believed to be the first feature of the human body to be registered. Cool!

But then I turned my discussion to people who get the brands of others on their bodies. People like the Gucci face guy or the Louis Vuitton sleeve dude below.

tattoo logos.jpgI tried to get in touch with these logo lovers, but to no avail, so I put out a call on the Facebook group page asking people to tell me about their logo tattoos. I'm grateful for all the responses. Many of y'all have band tattoos and great stories behind them, but as the focus was fashion for the panel, I was particularly interested in the story of talented tattooist Ania Jalosinska, of Kolektiv Tattoo in Warsaw, Poland.

Ania wears the United Nude logo and shoe design, which you can see here. The work was designed and tattooed by JEF. Here's what she said about it:

It says nothing more then a total loyalty, love and appreciation of a brand. Their shoe design is brilliant, both from an aesthetics standpoint and engineering standpoint. Getting a logo wasn't an initial idea; I wanted a leg on a side of my leg, but since I love UN shoes and wear them all the time, it was a no brainer what shoe the leg will wear. Their logo is just one of the graphic elements, which I also put in there because, as a tattoo artist and a graphic designer, I do appreciate design of it as well.
I also think the Coco Chanel quote, "Elegance is refusal," is a nice touch to the tattoo.

Naturally, I also had to talk about how some brands are banking on tattoo cool in their marketing, like Marc Ecko's Branded for Life promo, where those who get Ecko logo tattoos also get "20% off For Life" on Ecko merch. When I first heard about the promo, I really couldn't imagine anyone would buy into it. I was really, really wrong. The Ecko tattoo fan gallery goes on for pages, filled with thumbnails of the tattoos like those shown below.

marc ecko tattoo.jpgIn the Ecko case, the brand courts the tattooed masses.

But what about luxury brands?
Do they want the great tattooed unwashed repping their fashion houses?
And if they don't, what can they do about?

Simply wearing the logo will not necessarily get you in trouble as there's little "likelihood of confusion," whereby, one could believe that the brand sponsored or is associated the wearer of the logo tattoo. Do we really look at the Gucci face guy and think he really is the new face of the brand?

Then there's the argument of "trademark dilution," in which the brand believes that the tattoos would "tarnish" their identity by presenting it in an inferior light or associated with "unseemly services." It's a fun legal argument, but practically, I don't think we have to worry about Louis Vuitton going after our skins.

I ended my presentation by acknowledging the power of logo tattoos and the desire to brand oneself with a brand that speaks to them, which can be beautiful. Of course, I couldn't help but note that we should also honor our very own identities, and like a couture gown, get a work of art that is specifically tailored to our own bodies.

**
Like everything else on this blog, it's not intended as legal advice. Just my personal blah blah.
Dec201029
04:37 PM


Tattooer, designer, and fine artist Scott Campbell -- who owns Saved Tattoo with Chris O'Donnell in Brooklyn -- designed a ready-to-wear capsule collection and leather bag line for Louis Vuitton, Spring/Summer 2011. This isn't the first time Campbell has worked with the luxe brand; he's the tattoo artist and good friend of Vuitton Creative Director Marc Jacobs. It is, however, a first working with LV Men's studio director Paul Helbers on a collection with a distinct tattoo aesthetic. He tells NY Mag in an interview about the collaboration:

Now when people hear tattoo prints, a lot of them think bad Ed Hardy T-shirts.
I think when I first met with Paul about it, when he first said, "Hey, I want to do a collaboration, have it be tattoo-inspired," I think we both at the same moment said, "Okay, not like Ed Hardy."

Right. There's such a stigma associated with tattoo-printed clothing.
Tattooing in general has changed so much in the past, with reality shows, and you see tattoos in the media so much now. It's so overexposed. I feel like there are definitely things that are really beautiful about tattooing that are still underacknowledged. I feel like it's part of my responsibility, with whatever attention I get from the art and fashion world, to really be loyal to what I love about tattooing and take it back from reality shows and Ed Hardy.
scott-campbell-louis-vuitton.jpgTo promote the collection, Vuitton has created a "video diptyque" that "invites you to follow Scott Campbell in his New York creative universe before leaving to a mysterious destination to be revealed very soon..." The first video, shown above, shows Scott running around NYC, designing in his studio, more running around and then, zooom, he's off with passport in hand and fancy LV bag to the airport. In the second video, he arrives in Paris [no mystery there], jumps in a limo and is driven to the LV magic kingdom, where they eventually put him to work.

See the end result of that work, including the bag below, on High Snobiety as well as other design & fashion blogs.

Scott-Campbell-for-Louis-Vuitton-3.jpg Thanks to the fabulous Badur of Punk Medics for the video links.
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