Yesterday I posted the picture above on my Instagram account of a new tshirt I had ordered online. It took me a month to get the tshirt because it was on backorder and so when a friend of mine pointed out that a local fashion store was selling a locally printed version (i.e. imitation) I got upset for two reasons:
1) If its a good creative idea you support the designer who came up with the idea and you don’t get a local printshop to reprint the design for you
2) The store that was selling the fake tshirts (I won’t mention the brand and any mention of the brand in the comments will be deleted) is actually a very well respected brand and one that I actually liked
So I visited their Instagram account and found the tshirt listed for sale there and in the comments I read the following:
The tshirt was by a local designer and not the official one in NYC so I left the following comment:
To my surprise instead of them apologizing for selling imitation goods they responded with the following comment:
I stayed diplomatic and responded highlighting the fact that they themselves said it was by a local designer and not that they had permission from the official brand to reprint it in Kuwait. I also tagged my friend Fajer the lawyer in the comments so that she was aware of the situation as well. A few moments later they deleted all my comments and blocked me from their account.
I decided to contact the original designer just to make sure I hadn’t made a mistake and turns out I hadn’t. According to the designer who created the orignal tshirt she never gave anybody permission to sell or reprint her tshirts. In fact the local store was sent the following email to cease sale of the tshirts:
VIOLATION OF TRADEMARK – Remove Immediately
We have been notified that you are in violation of our trademark ‘Ain’t Laurent Without Yves’. Please immediately cease sale of all materials with our trademark logo on it; Should you continue to sell these items we will pursue severe legal damages for profits lost.
We never gave you, or any other vendor permission to sell our product with our slogan on it. Your claims on twitter are false and are damaging our brand.
The reason I am pointing this situation out is to discuss how criticism is handled in the region. Even when I was right I got attacked and a lot of other people do too. We should be able to have freedom of speech and criticism actually helps companies (and people) to know how they can improve. People in the region need to calm down and start accepting criticism.
If you’re interested in the tshirt above you can purchase it directly from the original designer at whataboutyves.com