Tuesday, 2 February 2010

North Face vs. South Butt

The incredulity of this story forces me to reblog Lighthiker's post on the matter. For those that didn't see the post on Roman's blog, The North Face has decided to file a lawsuit against The South Butt, a parody clothing line ran by 19 year old Jimmy Winkelmann. An extract from the San Francisco Business Times:
The jackets, shirts and shorts sport the “anti-North Face” logo and South Butt's mantra is “Never Stop Relaxing,” a spoof on San Leandro-based North Face Inc.’s motto, “Never Stop Exploring.”

Winkelmann offered to sell his business to North Face for $1 million but later withdrew his proposal after the case drew international publicity and boosted sales, the suit alleges. Now he plans to expand the manufacturing and sale of the clothing nationwide by spring 2010 and wants to sell the apparel on college campuses

Those in charge of TNF mustn't have a sense of humour, how could you not raise a smile reading through some of the ranges of clothing?
Soft Shell Jackets - Cafe' Series - Because you deserve to look good at the coffee shop - a sign of serious commitment to relaxation!
The South Butt Fleece Jacket - Mall Series - Nothing better for a visit to the mall, market, or even the occasional visit to your econ lecture.
Aside from admiring the balls of this guy who is taking on a "$7 billion plus powerhouse" the fact that he can still have a joke in his legal response to their lawsuit is just brilliant. From the response (the complete version is here):
North Face has … elected to depict the commercial undertakings of South Butt … as piracy, evoking not intellectual property issues, but crimes on the high seas.

Plaintiff’s products are perceived as being largely consumed by those who have little to no interest in living an adventurous lifestyle, but, rather, are interested in acquiring Plaintiff’s products for the status and/or notoriety they receive from being seen in Plaintiff’s expensive apparel and accessories.
I'm sure it's probably quite clear that I would agree with the above paragraph.

Surely TNF would be a lot wiser to use its time stopping the manufacture and importation of fakes rather than this? I hope Jimmy comes out of it al right and deciding to fight a large corp. doesn't cost him too much!

3 comment(s) so far, add your thoughts -->>here<<--:

Wandering Photographer said...

I stand by what I said in the comments on Lighthiker's blog. Parody is fine and the concept is funny - so is the legal response - but in reality he has taken it too far and is now actually trading commercially on the North Face's name. But again I will state that this is not a defence of NF - my antipathy to the NF doesn't make what the South Butt is doing right.

I think he has been naive and this could be a painful lesson for him - hopefully it's not too painful and he can take that entrepreneurial spirit and turn it to the creation of something that stands on it own merit and not on denigrating something else.

sbrt said...

North face more like Mardy bum.

Sounds like free publicity and a backhanded compliment for north faceless corporation.

Keith said...

I think you're probably right, Simon, and he'll regret taking it so far.

But at the same time I find it very surprising that TNF don't see the benefit or worth of TSB, buying him out for the mill he wanted and just adding it to their line would probably have been less hassle.

That said if it wasn't ran by a 19 year old it probably wouldn't get the same amount of sympathy from me.

I would tend to agree with you Steve.