What an interesting world we live in. Leah McSweeney, unmatched millionaire, has received a lawsuit from James Jebbia and Supreme suing her brand Married to the Mob for 10 million dollars. This is on the heels of MOB re-rleasing one of their first designs, bearing a boxed logo that says Supreme Bitch.
McSweeney made a blog post reminding the world that she has been using that very logo since 2004 which she sold at Union while Jebbia was the owner. Unfortunately, she attempted to trademark her logo (which makes sense, considering how easy is it to reproduce) and that set off some alarms at Supreme who figured that if MOB is going to trademark their logos, and use it on things other than t-shirts, that means somehow money is going to get straight out of Supreme’s pockets, into MOBs. So it was cute and all when she was still hustling, but bitch better not make money off of it.
As a reminder, just in case, MOB is a women’s label. Supreme does not make women’s clothes. But I guess the argument is that customers might think that Supreme Bitch might be confused as a Supreme women’s line (even though the tags will bear the brand Married to the Mob). Even funnier! The contentious logo is, almost famously, lifted right out of Barbara Kruger‘s visual art, who, if she was as money-hungry as Preme, could have sued them years ago (also, she happens to be a feminist, but that is also lost on Jebbia). OMG UPDATE as this was waiting to be published: Barbara Kruger has responded.
BOTH BRANDS have made their reputation out of repurposing pop-art. Now if they actually go to court with it (MOB is countering the claim) what are the chances of a judge being actually siding for Supreme? Is adding the word “bitch” sufficient to make the trademark different? One would think… Supreme is just an adjective, and a Supreme Bitch is not a Supreme. Writing things in white against a red background is not much of a crime. I guess this is in the hands of the courts, but MOB has Norman Siegel on the case, and I doubt he’s going to lose this one.
But to the point here: 10 MILLION DOLLARS? How do you estimate that prejudice? That’s a shitload of mugs and beanies that MOB hasn’t even sold yet. How are you going to come off as a skateboard (or, as they love to put it, “punk”) brand if they can’t take a fucking joke? From a girl? The only alternate universe where suing people is considered cool is corporate America, and even there they’re not huge fans of it. More importantly, how are they going to come off when McSweeney wins the case? The boxed logo is not trademarked, so Preme will have to make a really strong case to prove infringement.
I have an element of answer: NO ONE GIVES A SHIT. Because no one cares where Supreme’s box logo came from in the first place. Because no one who buys Supreme would legitimately confuse Supreme and Married to the Mob. Because No one who buys Married to the Mob would legitimately think they were buying a Supreme product. Because this lawsuit, like most lawsuits, is going to get a quiet settlement before both parties lose all their capital in a money pit that neither can afford. Who knew Supreme were such drama queens?
[Editor's Note: These opinions above are not the opinions of Мишка as a whole, they are solely the opinons of our writer, Gnou. This case, has gotten a lot of coverage beyond the usual streetwear media, because of the provocative dollar amount tied to it, but it really touches on concepts that are central to the base idea of streetwear. Hence, Gnou's coverage of it. Copyright—with regard to transformative art—is an area still being argued, and obviously as a streetwear company this is an area we all take interest in. Shoutout to the recent Richard Prince decision and Jeff Koons v. Art Rogers. - raythedestroyer]- Gnou