16 December 2009


Lululemon's clever retail satire

toque, toque and toque at Flickr.comLast year, Old Navy tried making some unofficial Olympic clothing, but Vancouver's Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC) and the International Olympic Committee shut that down because the jackets were too close to official trademarks for the upcoming Winter Olympics.

Now Vancouver yoga retailer Lululemon has tried a cheekier approach, releasing a line of clothes pushing the line of Olympic trademark infringement, without quite crossing it. The line is called the "Cool Sporting Event That Takes Place in British Columbia Between 2009 & 2011 Edition," which gave me a laugh.

I like the sporting events of the Winter Olympics, but VANOC and the IOC have been overzealous in emphasizing the business aspects of the event, rather than the sport. So I appreciate Lululemon's retail satire. The stuff looks good too, so I might buy some.

I wonder if it will be hard to get into Olympic events wearing the Lululemon clothes in February?

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26 August 2008


Old Navy's non-Olympic clothing line

I'm sure that Old Navy (being part of the Gap/Banana Republic clothing empire) has some excellent lawyers, who must have had giggled a little when they checked out, and then approved, these hoodie designs I saw for sale last week at the store:

Old Navy's not-quite-Olympic hoodies (Vancouver and Beijing) Old Navy's not-quite-Olympic hoodies (Vancouver 10 and Beijing 08)
Old Navy's not-quite-Olympic hoodies (Tokyo 64 and Mexico 68) Old Navy's not-quite-Olympic hoodies (Mexico 68 and Tokyo 64)

They're some reasonably funky retro Olympic track tops commemorating selected cities that have held or will hold Olympics over the past few decades (Tokyo, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Beijing, Vancouver). Except they're not, really. Old Navy is not an official Olympic sponsor or licensee. There are no Olympic logos or anything on these items of clothing, and the designers were careful to avoid even trademarked phrases, such as "Vancouver 2010."

Instead, you get a hoodie with "VANCOUVER" on the back and a simple "10" on the front, plus "BEIJING" and "08," "LOS ANGELES" and "84," "MEXICO" and "68," and "TOKYO" and "64." Simply commemorating a city and a number, see? Any Olympic association is purely coincidental, of course. I'm particularly impressed with the groovy lettering for Mexico, which cheekily apes the famous psychedelic '68 Olympics logo (scroll down at this Olympics branding site to compare). The Tokyo lettering is pretty similar too.

This might be an example of The Man thumbing his nose at The Man, but I have to admire the effort Old Navy expended to nearly, but just barely not, infringe on Olympic copyrights and trademarks. Given that, in many cases, very little of the billions of dollars that the IOC rakes in from sponsorships and licensing seems to go to the athletes themselves, I don't mind having a chuckle at it either.

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27 May 2008


Shopping out

Apple Store Vancouver 1 at Flickr.comWithout my wife, it's unlikely I would dress well. The evidence is clear from what I looked like before we met. However, I've always liked shopping, and used to enjoy going to the mall with my mom as much as 30 years ago. I just wasn't fond of buying clothes.

That's no longer true, and for the past couple of days I've spent some of my free time refreshing my wardrobe for the summer, with new shirts, sandals, and trousers.

I also got the chance to do a couple of other things. One was to purge out some older stuff in my clothes cupboards. The other was to go downtown and check out the new Apple Store.

Yeah, it is pretty much the same as other Apple Stores I've been to, with much the same selection of products as other Apple resellers in town, just more slickly presented. However, if you're looking for a variety of FireWire external hard disks (rather than USB 2.0 versions), the Apple Store has more types than most.

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11 May 2007


What your T-shirt says about you

Hipster at Northern Voice 2005 - Vancouver, British Columbia 042 at Flickr.com"Somewhere near the middle of your T-shirt drawer," writes Adam Rosen in Gelf magazine (via Kottke), "lies dormant a secret weapon so witty, so elusively allusive, or just so damn hip it finds itself swathing your chest on only the most important occasions."

Here's mine. Hey, it got me labeled "hipster" two years ago by people who had no idea who I was at the time. Score!

(Thanks to Bill D. for buying it for me. The orange ones are now collector's items.)

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