Gucci has lost a court case against Japanese brand Cuggl, which sports a logo on its T-shirts that looks very much like the luxury brand’s. Yet it is not counterfeit, but parody, the court says. The whole court case says a lot about the quirky fashion culture in Japan.
Challenging luxury brands
Japanese fashion start-up Cuggl specialises in parodying luxury brands with T-shirts that boldly nod to the labels’ logos. The name Cuggl, for example, appears to have little in common with Gucci, until the bottom half of the name is strategically made invisible on the shirts. The same applies to the patented name GUANFI, which then suddenly looks suspiciously like Chanel.
However, the Japanese patent office now rules that Gucci has no reason to protest against Cuggl, because consumers are smarter than that and no genuine confusion is possible. The start-up therefore does not have “the malicious intent to abuse goodwill and reputation“, as Gucci argued according to The Financial Times.
Cuggl parodies a host of other well-known brands, from Puma to Prada, and thus fits perfectly into Japan’s idiosyncratic fashion culture. In a country full of contrasts, many creative clothing brands and subcultures challenge the established fashion world with humour and innovation. On RetailDetail’s Retailhunt to Tokyo, you can get to know the inspiring retail and trends there.