Fashion and IP update: 'Hottest' brands and latest fashion trends and collaborations

The ‘hottest’ brands of 2022’s Q2 are out. According to The Lyst Index, this is the top 20:

  1. Gucci (knocking Balenciaga off the top spot from Q1)
  2. Balenciaga
  3. Prada
  4. Valentino
  5. Louis Vuitton
  6. Dior
  7. Miu Miu
  8. Fendi
  9. Diesel
  10. Burberry
  11. Versace
  12. Nike
  13. Adidas
  14. Loewe
  15. Dolce & Gabbana
  16. Saint Laurent
  17. Bottega Veneta
  18. Moncler
  19. Off-White

As reported in Q1, Gucci, Balenciaga and Dior all had some unexpected collaborations earlier this year.

Since that article, there have been a number of other exciting collaborations, particularly for Nike with their collaborations with French luxury fashion brands Jacquemus (No.20) and Louis Vuitton (No.5). The latter was led by the late Virgil Abloh and saw their Nike Air Force trainer donned with the LV monogram. It’s almost needless to say that there was no hope for the average consumer to beat the bots on that launch: the resale value is through the roof.

We have also seen a ‘swap’ between the two iconic Italian fashion houses, Fendi and Versace, called ‘Fendace’. A ‘swap’ differs from a collaboration as it sees both brands recreated from a different viewpoint by the respective Creative Directors of each fashion house - in other words, Donatella Versace’s vision for Fendi and Kim Jones’ vision for Versace. Fendi and Versace obtained a trade mark registration for Fendace, in joint names, in the EU and China - two core markets for fashion brands.

This is not the first time two fashion houses have created something beyond an ordinary collaboration. Some may recall Gucci and Balenciaga’s ‘hacker’ project of last year where again both brands were reimagined by the Creative Directors Alessandro Michele and Demna Gvasalia. This saw the classic ‘GG’ logo and monogrammed canvas swapped for ‘BB’, and some limited edition bags created with the tag graffiti ‘THIS IS NOT A GUCCI BAG’. Many referred to this collaboration as ‘Gucciaga’, but this was never trade marked.

We have also seen the resurgence of ‘IT’ (designer, best-selling) bags.

Last year, Fendi’s ‘baguette’ bag, which initially reached its fame thanks to Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw character in Sex And The City back in the late 90s, came back along with the show’s reboot And Just Like That

Fendi has obtained trade mark protection in the UK and EU for this bag name, as well as an updated design of the ‘baguette’ bag itself, which was registered as a 3D shape mark.

There was also Prada’s ‘Re-edition’ bag. Prada’s classic nylon bags, which were originally released between 2000 and 2005, came back with a new twist: sustainable Re-Nylon fabric. Prada has registered its new logo for the ‘PRADA RE-NYLON’ initiative which creatively combines their classic triangle logo with the recycling symbol.

Prada is not the only luxury brand with an interest in creating pieces with recycled materials. Louis Vuitton is committing to what they call “circular creativity” and have also registered a trade mark in the UK and EU for this project, which like Prada combines the recycling symbol and their classic LV logo.

Then we come to 2022, and here we have Balenciaga’s ‘le cagole’ bag. This is a reboot of a Y2K (year 2000) classic, the Balenciaga city bag, and keeps the studded design with soft leather, but in a half moon shape with a heart shaped mirror - giving 90s babies (including myself) real nostalgia. Balenciaga have obtained a design registration in the UK and EU for this bag.

When it comes to IP protection, fashion brands should consider making the most of what is available to them.

Focusing on handbags, if a handbag is a best-seller or permanent part of your collection, trade mark protection for the bag name is a valuable asset to have. The same can be said for protecting the design of a bag.

In the UK and EU, design protection can last up to 25 years. However, this system is not widely utilised by fashion brands, as the fashion world is fast-paced with items either being seasonal or ‘on trend’, meaning they may not be around for very long. Highly sought after items are inevitably at risk of counterfeits and copycats, so brands should consider protecting themselves in the best way possible.

This system is also available for ‘reboot’ bags where there is a feature that is new and has individual character when compared to its prior design.

With so much fashion creativity on display only halfway through the year, we eagerly await what’s in store for Q3. Watch this space…