Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Underdog?

A St. Louis teenager who was frustrated with his classmates' lemming-like following of a popular clothing line came up with a line of parody apparel and now faces a lawsuit for trademark infringement.

The South Butt was started in 2007 by Jimmy Winkelmann, who is now 18. He wanted to poke fun at the kids at his high school who all bought the exact same North Face jackets and vests. Each year he's made a few thousand dollars; at first the money went back into the company, but last year he helped his parents pay for his tuition at the University of Missouri.

Even though the company wasn't very large, it still caught the attention of The North Face. In August they sent him a cease and desist request. The South Butt refused. This month The North Face filed suit.

As you might imagine, all of the media coverage has dramatically increased sales of The South Butt. A couple of places around here are selling the t shirts, fleeces, and shorts. Today I saw a mom wearing the branded hoodie when she dropped her son off for preschool today. She said the first time she tried to get one, the store was out of her size, and she had to wait for another shipment to arrive.

I don't know if I'd wear one of the shirts, but I'm sure I'm not the company's target market; I wouldn't wear a North Face item either.

7 comments:

  1. VERY interesting! GO UNDERDOG!!!

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  2. That's funny and very astute for a high school student to come to that realization about brands. I'm not surprised that North Face is so litigous...I am surprised that North Face [of all brands!] is so popular with kids! It doesn't seem very hip to me!

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  3. I love it. Might have to go and place an order.

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  4. I just asked my students if they knew about North Face. Nope, never heard of it. One asked, "Is it expensive?" Probably. That would explain why they don't know the brand. None of them wear coats or cold weather clothing either.

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  5. I can't help but think that this must be a regional thing...my boys 19-20&21 don't know the brand either...I remember it from my years in college...long time ago..smiles.

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  6. Thanks for all the comments.

    The North Face sells "outdoor performance" clothes-mainly for climbing, skiing and snowboarding. It's good quality but expensive.

    A couple of years ago I started noticing that half the teenagers in my area were wearing the same type of North Face jacket. The fad doesn't seem to have gone away. It think it's funny; my boys all went to parochial schools which required a uniform. You'd think they'd want to show their individuality in some way, but they had to have the same type of Adidas jacket that everyone else did!

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