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Your lifestyle, your quirk
They say that “imitation is the highest form of flattery,” but I wonder, did that quote come from a “they” who had been flattered? For those of you who don’t keep up with the happenings in the fashion world, according to fashionista.com, “The Canadian yoga wear brand … filed suit in Delaware on August 13, accusing Calvin Klein and their manufacturer G-III Apparel of infringing on three patents on designs of Lululemon’s “Astro” pants, according to the Chicago Tribune.”
You can read the whole story here.
My non-legal fast and nasty recap of this is that Calvin Klein has a yoga pant that is a bit too similar to Lululemon’s yoga pant, particularly their signature style of waistband.
Since I am an artist/designer myself, I find this quite fascinating. My grandmother used to say when something spicy or controversial happened, “there isn’t anything going on in the world that hasn’t happened before.” I think something similar can be said for fashion. It can be tricky if you try to assign origin or ownership. There is a definite cycle for styles and garments, and a pair of pants is pair of pants. Same goes for any garment, but when designers put their spin or vision on it, that’s where it can get sticky. Chanel didn’t invent the jacket, but the Chanel jacket exists.
As Susan Scafidi, Academic Director at Fordham’s Fashion Law Institute, explained to the folks at fashionista.com, “Its uniqueness and recognition in the public gives the appearance to the customer that they are unique and shores up their intellectual property portfolio.” In other words, Lululemon is trying to protect its brand—and maybe thrust itself into the public spotlight a bit.
I think of it this way: a yoga pant is a yoga pant, but the waistband is Lululemon’s quirk, if you will, or their secret sauce. It’s what their customer has grown to identify them with. I worked in the biz for a woman I really admire, and her philosophy went something like this: “There is enough for everyone.” I took that to mean there isn’t a reason to lose your integrity.
Blisstree.com posted a picture of the two yoga pants, and I think Calvin Klein “went there.”
I say kudos to Lululemon for taking on a “giant” like Calvin Klein. Scafidi was quoted, “In suing a brand like Calvin Klein, they are sending a message to smaller companies who might also think about knocking off Lululemon designs that they are not afraid to protect their brand.” I guess Lululemon can take it as a compliment, but come on now, Calvin, you were once a young designer just starting out with your own quirk. A yoga pant with Calvin Klein printed on it wasn’t enough?