NEW YORK January 3, 2019
Nostalgia was the driving force for a lot of fashion brands in 2018, particularly the relaunch of Marc Jacobs’ iconic grunge collection. But not everyone was excited about the return of the collection that got him fired from Perry Ellis in 1993, including members of the band Nirvana who are suing Marc Jacobs for copyright infringement.
Nirvana, one of the most famous grunge bands of the 90s, inspired Jacobs to use the band’s famous “smiley” logo on his pieces — but he neglected to obtain a license for its use. The drawing, which was created by Kurt Cobain in 1991, has previously been licensed by such brands as Urban Outfitters and Target.
In addition to the logo, Nirvana song lyrics and even a meme of Kurt Cobain performing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” have been used to promote the Redux Grunge Collection. According to the Fashion Law, “Such expansive usage of Nirvana’s Smiley Face logo and various other brand-identifying elements is an ‘intentional’ effort by Marc Jacobs to ‘evoke Nirvana in the minds of [consumers],’ per Nirvana and to ‘associate the entire ‘Bootleg Redux Grunge’ collection with Nirvana, one of the founders of the ‘Grunge’ musical genre, so as to make the ‘Grunge’ association with the collection more authentic.’”
Nirvana is seeking monetary damages and for Marc Jacobs to discontinue all products featuring its logo.
Neither the designer nor representatives of the brand have commented on the issue, but this is surely not the best start of the new year.