Clothing The Gap, a small Aboriginal-led business from Melbourne, has finally ended a long two-year legal fight with U.S. clothing giant Gap.
And it looks like all the ‘hard work’ by their larger U.S. counterparts has paid off: from the end of July, Clothing The Gap will have to rebrand with the incremental change of one letter, becoming Clothing The Gaps. Goliath really showed David with this one…
The Gap initially took umbrage at the Victorian label using the word gap’ in their name, citing trademark infringement after they attempted to trademark ‘Clothing The Gap’.
As per ABC, Gunditjmara woman Laura Thompson, the co-founder and managing director of the company, was perplexed when she received a cease-and-desist letter from The Gap back in 2019.
“When we registered Clothing The Gap with the trademark through Spark Health, I guess we thought it was a play on words with closing the gap,” Thompson said. “We never at all anticipated or hadn’t even really thought of The Gap clothing at all, when we registered it.”
Even more confusingly, Clothing The Gap was still in its infancy then – without even a physical store – and Gap Inc. had literally closed all of its stores in Australia.
And while Clothing The Gap was performing well with its customers, those behind-the-scenes have suffered an “emotional toll” over the branding ordeal.
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“In the background, we’ve had uncertainty around our brand for the last two years; we’ve been continuing to call ourselves Clothing The Gap, knowing very well that we’re going to have to rebrand at some stage,” Thompson revealed.
Last November the case came to a close, a judge ruling in favour of Gap Inc.. Instead of fighting a losing battle, Thompson decided to focus on better pursuits. “We decided to put our energies into a public fight, to free that Aboriginal flag for all Australians, and in particular the Aboriginal community,” she said.
They now have until July 31st to rebrand to Clothing The Gaps and sell any and all merchandise that contains the old branding. There will thankfully be no costs involved in having to rebrand before this deadline.
Thompson has been ebullient in the face of the dispute, finding the positive in the fact that they don’t have to completely rebrand everything. And she thought that the new name, Clothing The Gaps, ultimately supports their thinking that there was more than one gap to fill to improve the lives of those in Aboriginal communities in Australia.
“We were Clothing The Gap before and now we’re Clothing The Gaps. We’re targeting more than one gap in the community,” she said.
The whole unnecessary affair puts one in mind – albeit on a less serious scale – of that ludicrous time Kylie Jenner tried to trademark the name Kylie, leading to Kylie Minogue to call her a “secondary reality television personality”.
And it’s certainly not a good look for The Gap, who are prominent and vocal in their support for social movements like BLM, to be doing this to an Indigenous-run business.
If you wish to show support for Clothing The Gaps, their website is here and they have a store at 744 Sydney Road, Brunswick, Melbourne.
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