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18/05/2017

Which Sportswear Giant is More Legally Aggressive

 

“For decades it’s looked like no company could ever topple Nike, the $86 billion global sneaker juggernaut,” wrote GQ’s Matthew Shaer a couple of years ago. As of early 2015, adidas was still underperforming its top rival in the key U.S. sportswear market and confronting headlines that it was even trailing behind Under Armour, a far smaller player. Yet, over the past two years in particular, adidas has made a markedly successful play for the top spot and the German giant is not letting up.

In recent quarters, Adidas has managed to sustain double-digit sales gains, principally in the crucial North American market. As noted by adidas-Group CEO Kasper Rorsted in March, "The one market that we have traditionally been challenged in, North America, we have made fantastic progress in the past two years so we have great momentum."

“Nike is still growing. Its dominant position atop the athletic footwear and apparel business remains secure,” Oregon Live’s Jeff Manning stated in November. “But adidas is growing faster. For the first time in recent memory, they're grabbing market share from Nike.” And adidas is doing so by way of what analysts have called a “sweet spot at the crossroads of sports and pop culture.”

In addition to purely athletic shoes, the brand is banking on athleisure apparel, fashion collaborations, reissues of timeless classics (such as the Stan Smith and the Gazelle, among others), and the headline-grabbing YEEZY collection with rapper Kanye West, who first collaborated with Nike in 2009, but switched to adidas in 2013. It is worth noting that in terms of the latter element, Matt Powell, Vice President of Industry Analysis and the Sports Industry Analyst for New York-based market search firm, NPD Group, noted recently, “Adidas’ sales were negative for 2 years after signing West. Of the top 10 adidas shoes [in 2016], only one was remotely related to West.”

Regardless of the actual impact that such big-name collaborations have on the companies' bottom lines – practically speaking, only sneaker-heads and/or fashion fanatics actually respond to such projects – the two rivals have sparred in terms of which could land more desirable collaborators.

In the past several years, alone, Nike has teamed up with former Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci, Berlin-based tech brand ACRONYM, Supreme, Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing, Off-White’s Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton’s menswear director Kim Jones, and designer John Elliott, among others. In addition to West, adidas has landed Pharrell, Alexander Wang, Raf Simons, Palace Skateboards, Nice Kicks, and Mary Katrantzou.

In addition to fighting for market share and the coolest designers/brand names, the two sportswear giants have been battling on-and-off for years in courts across the U.S. and abroad, in connection with patent-protected footwear designs, trade secret-stealing employees, and an array of other legal matters. While active litigation has long been a tactic of both adidas and Nike (against one another and against third parties), adidas has made headlines recently for the slew of lawsuits that it has filed against entities ranging from Elon Musk’s Tesla to fast fashion retailer Forever 21.

In light of what Forever 21 recently referred to as adidas’ “overly-aggressive” stance on legal matters when it comes to intellectual property (“IP”) – one that rivals that of a luxury brand, such as Louis Vuitton, which has been pegged in courts as a “trademark bully” due to its widespread efforts to fight any and all unauthorized uses of its valuable trademarks – how do these two rivals compare?

We looked at the IP litigation and trademark/patent opposition activity of both Nike and adidas over the past year or so (from January 2016 through April 2017 and compared it generally to comparable activity in 2014 and 2015) to see which brand is more assertively working to ensure that others are not infringing its valuable IP assets.

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07:51 Publié dans Shopping | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

09/05/2017

Lena Dunham Trolls Us Weekly Diet Tips Column

 

Lena Dunham Trolls Us Weekly Diet Tips Column

Lena Dunham isn't afraid to call out unauthorized uses of her photos — especially when the photo itself champions a cause which the actress herself does not stand for.

In a recent issue of Us Weekly, Dunham's photo was used as art for a story titled "20 Slimdown Diet Tips Stars Are Using," with the caption, "Lena: How she gets motivated," underneath her image. But Dunham, who has already publicly addressed her weight loss, which was related to the lifestyle changes she was making in order to alleviate the pain from her endometriosis, did not appreciate the association with the "slimdown" story.

The actress posted a photo of the article on Instagram, along with 20 of her own "tips" for weight loss, including "anxiety disorder," "constant sweaty dreams of dystopian future," "marching your ass off" and a reference to her chronic condition: "abdominal adhesions pinning ovary below uterus." The 30-year-old even squeezed in an allusion to the recent healthcare bill passed by the House of Representatives by marking "anxiety disorder" and her endometriosis with an asterisk, which "indicates a pre-existing condition."

The list culminates in tip 20, in which Dunham writes, "I have no tips, I give no tips, I don't want to be on this cover cause it's diametrically opposed to everything I've fought my whole career for, and it's not a compliment to me because it's not an achievement, thanx [sic]."

The Girls creator has long maintained that she is comfortable with her body no matter what her size, and takes issue with others who see her weight loss as something to be celebrated.

Last year, Dunham called out the Spanish magazine Tentaciones for using a photo which she believed to be retouched in order to make her appear thinner. "I have a long and complicated history with retouching," she wrote at the time. "I wanna live in this wild world and play the game and get my work seen, and I also want to be honest about who I am and what I stand for."

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09:17 Publié dans Shopping | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

03/05/2017

Honored in New Met Exhibition

 

Honored in New Met Exhibition

If you are someone who likes a lot of guidance and explanation at the museum, you might want to dramatically recalibrate your expectations before heading into "Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art of the In-Between," the lavishly presented new show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute.

Arriving in a brilliant white space containing a series of geometric structures, you'll find no one pointing you in the right direction, and no explanatory text next to the garments. That's because for Kawakubo, the revered Japanese designer who's been reinventing her clothes for nearly a half-century — to the point that she no longer calls them clothes, but "objects for the body" — there is no right answer.

"I don't like to explain the clothes," the Comme des Garcons founder, now 74, was quoted as saying in 2013. "The clothes are just as you see them and feel them."

There is a bit of guidance available. Andrew Bolton, star curator of this and other blockbuster Met fashion exhibits, has provided paper brochures with maps and context, though he cheerfully welcomes you to ditch them. And even this much explanation for the visitor was a hard-fought compromise with Kawakubo.

"It was a battle," Kawakubo says in an interview with Bolton. "Are you going to write that we fought?"

They seem to have fought over various things. Showing a reporter around the exhibit a few days before opening, Bolton noted that although Kawakubo approached him 18 months ago saying she was ready for a show, she was resolutely opposed to a retrospective. She hates focusing on the past, because she has moved on.

"She finds it physically painful to look at her work. So, that took months of negotiation," he said.

Fans of "Comme," as fashion-lovers call it, would have been "screaming in my ears," Bolton added, if he hadn't included collections like "Broken Bride," where Kawakubo explored the concept of marriage, and "Ballerina Motorbike," in which she juxtaposed the very feminine — a filmy pink tutu — with the tough, muscular look of a black motorcycle jacket.

Kawakubo actually wanted to focus exclusively on the last few years of designs — following her second "rupture" in 2014, when she said she was no longer making "clothing" in the sense of wearable garments. (Her first rupture, in 1979, is known as the moment she decided to ditch her early, folklore-inflected designs and "start from zero.") "This was where her mind was at," Bolton said. He convinced her otherwise, and sprinkled through the show are juxtapositions of the older, more functional clothes, and the new.

Pointing out a 2009 dress, he noted: "This still has arms, still has legs, still has openings." Then, pointing to a post-2014 version: "Now you see the priority of form over function." An example of her later work is three jackets, fused into one — with two of the jackets forming sleeves of the central jacket.

It is rare that the Costume Institute focuses on a single living designer — the last was Yves Saint Laurent in 1983. But Bolton had long wanted to work with Kawakubo. "For me Rei is not only the most important and influential designer of the last 40 years, but the most inspirational at the same time," he says. "Her influence is enormous — especially on the vocabulary of fashion that we now take for granted, like asymmetry, like the unfinished, like black as a fashionable color."

"She summarizes the last 50 years of fashion. She's that important."

The exhibit, which launches with the glittery Met gala Monday night, is divided into nine themes, all of them dualities in Kawakubo's work: Fashion/Anti-Fashion, High/Low, Design/Not Design, and Clothes/Not Clothes are a few.

Passing by one display, Bolton notes that the collection is one of Kawakubo's favorites — and then stops himself. "Well, she wouldn't say favorite — she would say 'least dissatisfying.'" That 1997 collection was called "Body Meets Dress — Dress Meets Body." Garments in gingham-like fabric are stretched over bizarre protrusions on the body, coming out from the stomach or the back or the hip.

"I didn't expect them to be easy garments to be worn every day," Kawakubo has said about that collection. "It is more important... to translate thoughts into action rather than to worry about if one's clothes are worn in the end." (Of course, she has made more commercial collections that end up in stores, if not the runway.)

Scurrying around the exhibit the other day, Bolton described a classic anxiety dream he'd had two nights earlier: The exhibit opened, but it was in a huge airplane hangar — and nobody came. No one at all. And Kawakubo, too, has not been immune to anxiety about the show. "Do you think the space is disorienting?" she asks him during the interview. "Do you think people will get lost?"

Getting lost, he assures her, is rather the point.

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07:54 Publié dans Shopping | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)