Angela and Vanessa Simmons, daughters of Reverend Run of Run-D.M.C., are following the Hot Topic business model of ripping off the designs of other people. In this case, their fashion line Pastry keeps putting out t-shirt designs that are uncomfortably similar to the tees that Johnny Cupcakes puts out first. Last Spring, he had his lawyer contact them about trademark infringement, but he says that hasn’t stopped them from using his line as a free design resource. Classy!
Randomly putting baked items on t-shirts and having an entire brand revolve around it is free for anyone to do. I don’t own food. However, I did indeed start this brand of mine 8 years ago, having its main focus be revolved around cupcakes and anything associated with it. In the independent t-shirt industry, I believe I was the first person to go all out with this cupcake / baking motif. I’ve made a tremendous amount of sacrifices and risks to make it the homegrown, family run, fun, limited business that it is, since I dropped out of high school and sold my t-shirts out of my rusty car. With my brand’s main focus on my customers and their experience, I think I’ve been doing a pretty swell job at it.
Last Spring I was alerted by a customer who happened to work at a popular mall sportswear store. This customer of mine caught a glimpse of his manager’s catalog which had various items that were being released in the near future at all of their mall locations. One of the items in this companies catalog was a “Make Pastry Not War” t-shirt. Not only was it a very similar slogan, but it had the same EXACT placement, font, EVEN A CUPCAKE in the center of the t-shirt. This was no coincidence. Weeks later my inbox was flooded with furious Johnny Cupcakes customers who saw this same catalog with the ‘Pastry’ design in it. I could of made a big deal about it online, making everyone else aware of it. Instead, I decided not to be a cry baby and post it all over the internet, so I sought out a different route. I decided to contact my trademark attorney, who then contacted the owners of Pastry / Pastry Kicks. We got in touch with the President of a certain mall chain-store who ended up declining the order of all ‘Make Pastry Not War’ t-shirts.
Recently I’ve received several e-mails from confused and upset customers of mine. Now, 2 other designs have appeared on their website. You be the judge…
The thing that baffles me, is why would two girls who’re famous via MTV, have to stoop so low to create such similar items, never mind brand? Maybe they’re both really great girls who happened to hire some not-so-great designers? I’m not sure what the case is, but I do know that this should be brought to everyones attention.
You’ve got a show on MTV and a rap star dad, Simmons ladies—surely you can afford to buy some original t-shirt designs?