I was reading though Topshop’s blog, Inside Out, the other day and couldn’t believe my eyes, when I saw these images:
(Images taken from Inside Out post)
They are from a fashion show by Alexander Wang, who is known for cleverly mixing sporty and urban styles.
What made me do a double-take though, is the chevron prints and colours and their resemblance to Hummel designs. Hummel is huge here in Denmark. In fact, just the other day, I picked my son up from a birthday party and while there, three parents were frantically trying to figure out which of the six identical blue Hummel trainers belonged to their kid (needless to say, for once I was quite smug, that my son’s were the cheapo black and white trainers that none of the other kids owned). Actually, I usually never buy “branded” clothes, yet when I think about it we have quite a pile of Hummel clothes between us… There are all the T-shirts, that my husband wears for work, Hummel branded with the name of the physio clinic he works at on the back, The football kit and ball, that my son received while on a sponsored summer camp and the track suit that my daughter ended up choosing because I made the mistake of taking one of her friends along, when shopping for her gymnastics outfit;-)
Anyway, sorry, I’ve gone completely off topic here, trying to portray how common the image of those chevrons are around here. What I wanted to say was, if you’re not already familiar with Hummel, have a look at this:
(one of my hubby’s work T’s -image taken from the Hummel website)
I realise they are only chevron shapes and that these and zig-zags are popular patterns in textiles at the moment, but chevrons of this size and direction down the sleeves, have been Hummel’s trademark almost from the beginning of their existence in the 1920’s.
(Danish football team in 1979 -image taken from Hummel’s website)
There always is an immense amount of copying (that is not to say that anyone has been copying here… I’m staying well clear…) going on in the fashion industry, as it is hard to determine ownership of designs that are not completely identical. It varies between countries how close (by percentage) designs may be, but how do you determine this… Also, trends make it inevitable, that very similar designs will emerge from different sides. However, in this case, it is notable that the design on one part has been around for so long and is such a big part of their brand identity.
I find this particular case very interesting though, as I cannot help wonder if it won’t turn out to Hummel’s advantage, even if no legal action is taken, to have a high end designer produce designs so close to their particular trademark, long since established?
I contacted Hummel, asking how they stand on this and was told, that they are in the proccess of making a decision on how and if to react to this. They promised to let me know, as soon as a decision is reached, so watch this space. I know I will.