Sunday, May 4, 2008

You Try To Do Something Nice....

I admit, it was a little before quiting' time on Friday and i shamelessly found myself perusing the Top Five Fashion PR Links on - I'm only human people.

Anyway, I stumbled across a very interesting story about one of our favorite French designers who is apparently suing everyone and their mother for something completely ridiculous. I don't want to call anyone out, but his name starts with "Louis" and ends with "Vuitton."

Read below and prepare to be annoyed:
(compliments of Fashion, Evolved.)

Last year a graphic artist named Nadia Plesner decided she wanted to create something that would increase awareness about the crisis in Darfur. She was not only dismayed by the genocide of HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of men, women and children, but at the complete lack of interest shown by the west, which seems unable to tear itself away from the Britney Chronicles long enough to see what's really going on in the world.

So, she created a T-shirt that depicted a suffering, starving, naked child carrying a mock-designer handbag and a small snooty dog. 100% of the proceeds would go to the charity Divest for Darfur. Sounds like a good plan, right?

Well apparently, the folks a Louis Vuitton are not happy that she chose to make her handbag resemble one of their pieces. The bag in the picture looks like Vuitton's MultiColor design (a favorite pattern among teenage girls), and although it does not contain the LV logo anywhere on the picture, Plesner has been ordered to stop selling the t-shirts and is being sued by the luxury designer which is demanding 5000 Euros PER DAY (That's almost $10,000 USD) as damages for the sale of the t-shirt.

Whether or not you agree that Plesner is guilty of copyright infringement (a decision that is not as simple as you might think), the whole debate should serve as a reminder of two things:

1. Plesner is absolutely right about western consumers being totally selfish. One of those handbags could easily feed a family in Darfur for months. We are obsessed with crap and with the vapid and useless people that prance around this country flaunting it with a "Let them eat cake" mentality. The French had the good sense to behead Marie Antoinette for that bullshit. The least we can do is pay attention to the suffering of these people. Don't get me wrong--I like fashion. I have a damn blog about it. But we need to get our priorities straight. You don't have to give up style to give a damn about your fellow humans that would rather have a clean glass of water than all the LV bags they can carry. Think about it.

and, 2. Large corporations are not kind and caring souls. They are about making money. LV is no exception. We can't sit back and expect nameless and faceless entities that were created SOLELY to make a profit to care about the world. It's up to us, the individual consumers. That's why you and I and everyone else needs to THINK about what we're buying and which companies we're supporting.

The new world of fashion is not about being a victim and letting other people tell you what you should wear and buy. YOU make the choice, and your choice should be based not only on the design and quality of the product, but on the willingness of the designer and manufacturer to contribute to a better world.

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