Douglas Kirland’s fantastic 1962 photo of Coco Chanel (there are more here)

What does the Navajo nation have in common with Coco Chanel?

An aggressive stance on trademark, apparently.

Urban Outfitters recently received a cease and desist letter from the Navajo nation recently asking the retail chain to stop selling certain items with the word “Navajo” in the title. According to theLos Angeles Times, the Navajo nation holds several trademarks on the word “Navajo” for use in “clothing, textiles and household products.”


These Urban Outfitters underpants are not Navajo (seems extra silly when you say it out loud, doesn’t it?)

Kind of a bummer with this whole NavajoTM trend going on right now.

But not unlike a few years ago when boxy tweet jackets with contrast trim showed up in every collection from contemporary to kids.

At the time, French luxury firm Chanel sent letters to editors telling them to refrain from using the Chanel name when describing those items (unless, of course, it actually WAS a Chanel jacket).


Actual Chanel jacket from the Spring 2011 Ready-to-Wearcollection (Photo by Monica Feudi /

As recently as last year, the company placed ads which read: “Although our style is justly famous, a jacket is not ‘a Chanel jacket’ unless it is ours, and somebody else’s cardigans are not ‘Chanel for now.’ And even if we are flattered by such tributes to our fame as ‘Chanel-issime, Chanel-ed, Chanels, and Chanel-ized’, PLEASE DON’T. Our lawyers positively detest them. We take our trademark seriously.”

And so does the Navajo nation.

This is going to make my fashion reports much longer.


Published Oct. 19, 2011 at