Today’s Fashion Headlines: October 17, 2012

October 17, 2012 • Fashion Blog, Fashion News

YSL and Louboutin finally stop their fighting, Uniqlo’s sales dropped due to the recent protests and the Gap plans some major changes.

YSL and Louboutin Settle

After a highly publicized legal tug of war that lasted a year and a half, Yves Saint Laurent SA said Tuesday that it will drop its lawsuit against Christian Louboutin SA. Claiming it won a “conclusive” victory, YSL said it is ready to “close the book” on what had become one of the most widely scrutinized legal cases in the fashion world. Nearly a year of deliberating ensued and came to a head last month when the Court of Appeals ruled that YSL had the right to make and sell the monochromatic shoes. In doing so, the court whittled down Louboutin’s trademark but did not cancel it.

“From our perspective, the Appeals Court decision was a complete victory for us,” said YSL lawyer David Bernstein. “We got the right to sell the shoes and the court even narrowed Louboutin’s trademark. It’s our hope that Louboutin will stop using the [trademark] registration in an anticompetitive way.” While YSL dismissed its counterclaims that essentially called into question how Louboutin procured its trademark, Bernstein said his client still has a “very strong” case to cancel Louboutin’s registration should the brand attempt another lawsuit. “There’s little reason for us to pursue the cancelation at this point,” he said. “We’ve already won and there’s no reason to be vindictive.”But Louboutin’s Lewin shrugged off Bernstein’s aggressive words, calling the claims “counter threats” that are “not substantive” and difficult to prove.

Protest Affecting Uniqlo Sales

The Uniqlo company’s president Tadashi Yanai told WWD that recent protests against Japan in China have not affected production (although 75% of the Uniqlo’s production goes down in China) but has affected sales. “There was an affect on sales. A lot of Japanese brands were affected, but recently things have been improving a little, so I think very soon a full recovery will be made,” Yanai said. Things here in the United States are looking a bit better, seeing that since the company’s new San Francisco store has made a new name for itself. “I think it went even better than we expected,” Yanai said. “The people of San Francisco really welcomed us, particularly the mayor. I almost think the mayor is our salesman. From start to finish, he gave a hard selling speech for us, which I was extremely thankful for.”

The Gap Shuffle

Gap Inc.’s executive structure has gone global. Reflecting worldwide expansion that’s seen it move into 40 countries, up from eight in 2006, the San Francisco-based apparel specialty retail giant has reorganized its executive ranks along brand lines, integrating international, online, outlet and franchise operations into four silos — Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and a new Innovation, Digital Strategy and New Brands division. The new unit is to be headed as president by Art Peck, current president of Gap North America, and will include Gap’s newest, smallest brands, Athleta and Piperlime.

Responsibility for the Gap brand will be in the hands of Steve Sunnucks, who joined Gap in 2005 after working as chief executive officer of New Look and most recently served as president of the international unit. As global president of Gap brand, he will be based in New York and report to Glenn Murphy, Gap chairman and CEO. Mark Breitbard, named president of Gap North America, will report to Sunnucks and work from San Francisco. Breitbard had been senior product leader for Gap brand in the U.S. and Canada.

With international duties integrated into the brand organizations, the international unit will effectively cease to exist. The transition to these new roles begins Nov. 5, Gap said, and will be fully implemented at the start of the 2013 fiscal year.

– Taneisha Jordan

Source & Photo: WWD

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