Traedmark - The art of spotting a fake.
5PREVIEW started out by a coincidence in 2008, we all know that by now. A T-shirt that shouldn't be sold, a D-I-Y project for an italian teenage magazine, an article that never got published because the teenage magazine changed owners and the new ones refused to pay the girl that made the article. The T-shirt was handmade, a stencil-printed Chanel-like logo with a Rome-address printed under it. It was on that address the shirt was printed and then a picture of this shirt ended up on Myspace (anyone remembers Myspace?). And then it got spread pretty fast around the globe and a lot more shirts were printed in Via Cavour N° 221.
Most of the people understood the irony of the two Chanel-like C:s and some people said “ Is that designing, copying Chanel? I can do that myself!”. No one actually thought it was a Chanel T-shirt and It was definitely not sold as one. But Chanel didn't like it at all (and we do highly respect them) so now if you find the famous Cavour T-shirt out there – it's not made by 5PREVIEW, for sure (maybe by the strange “brand” Maison About but I'm not sure they still exists).
5PREVIEW made more T-shirt graphics, inspired by big brands out there, twisting the logos, demystifying them. Not only brands, by the way, also famous tourist attractions...things that we are so used to see. But with a twist. A little something that catches your attention.
Pretty quick the copies of 5PREVIEW popped up. In the beginning the focus was on the Cavour shirt and it's hard to tell if the people that made these shirts thought they were copying Chanel or 5PREVIEW. It's not really important. Most of the copies were thrash. Letters changed, words without meaning. It was weird to see this “Via Cavour N° 221 Roma” modified in all different ways, knowing that in the beginning it had some kind of meaning, it was my address for Christ sake! Now I saw “Caper N° 69 Boss” and things like that written on shirts that after a while also got the 5PREVIEW neck label in them! Sometimes the hangtag too...
The fakes started out in HongKong & China. After a while an explosion from Naples in the south of Italy. People with some Photoshop-skills turns up on Facebook with groups called "5PREVIEW T-shirts for 15 €" (have no idea about their success, in the end anyone can buy a screenframe and print T-shirts at home. That was how it started - with a tutorial on how to make these kind of prints without spending any money).
Time passed and then the really weird thing started. The copies showed up at big famous chain-stores: Gina Tricot in Sweden & Lindex kid's department. Eiffeltowers turned upside down could be found at H&M & Topshop. A brand called MyBrand copied our “Y5L” shirt, and also the “55” shirt. They were more expensive than 5PREVIEW so in some parts of Europe people thought 5PREVIEW were copying them!
The climax of this whole story is when a huge (I mean HUGE) department store in Germany sue 5PREVIEW because they say our name is to similar to one of their lines, at the same time they're sponsoring “New Young Upcoming Fashion Designers” at Mercedes Fashion Week in Berlin AND one of our fans out there (with a camera) found at least 5 different 5PREVIEW copies in this HUGE DEPARTMENT STORE. And here we're not talking “getting a little inspiration from” here we're taking rip-offs!
What are we supposed to do? What CAN we do? Nothing. We're getting used to this. We have fun, make new graphics, exploring new territories. I just saw a rip-off of the CAVOUR print on a tote-bag in the Brick Lane market in London, it was really pretty, made in a nice way so it felt OK.
And a really important thing: we work with nice fits and good fabrics. Our prints are hand drawn (you can clearly see the difference from a vectorized computer made rip-off) and the products are sold in nice stores with other nice brands.
What's my point?
It's difficult to register a graphic and even if you have a logo registered it's almost impossible to find these people most of the times. You only hope that customers have some common sense and that graphic designers try to be a little more creative. Get inspiration from, people, that's the point! And now, a good laugh at all the “creative fakers” out there (all pictures from the great books Traedmark Vol. 1 & 2 by Sayeda Projects):