Archive for the ‘Trademarks’ Category

Naming your fashion business is one of the most important things you will ever do. The name of your business, coupled with its visual look and feel, and verbal voice, will set the tone for your business and tell your customers what kind of brand you are.

Here are a few strategies, with some quick descriptions, to help you figure out your own approach.

1) The Artist as Brand
Betsey Johnson. Calvin Klein. Dolce and Gabbana. John Galliano. Versace. Armani. All are named for the principle designer, establishing the feeling that the designer is an artist, and the work is an extension of his or her personality or philosophy. This naming strategy may also be the most distinctive, if your name is unique.

2) Arbitrary/Intellectual
Helmet of the Will. Imitation of Christ. These are obscure, sometimes arbitrary names with a literary feel that may only make sense to the designer. They may also describe an intellectual approach to fashion design, where the design of the garment itself is an intellectual exercise.

3) Evocative/Lifestyle
Agent Provocateur. Miss Davenporte. Rock & Republic. Glam. These names evoke a feeling, an era, or a lifestyle. This naming strategy readily lends itself to visual branding, because it easily conjoures up visual ideas.

4) Literal
Truly Organic Apparel. Sustainable Collective. These names describe exactly what you get when you buy these brands. A good strategy when you need to distinguish your brand based on certain distinct attributes.

There is no one right way to name your brand, use what works best for you. When I work with clients on naming their businesses, we start first by creating a brand strategy and trying to figure out what feeling we want to create with their brand. Then, brainstorming names comes naturally. It should also be one of the most fun parts of starting your business. Enjoy!

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The name of your label is going to be the most important marketing/branding asset you have. It should be well-chosen, should evoke the feeling of your line, and should be memorable. It should also be unique enough to be trademarkable and to distinguish yourself from others.

Unfortunately, the latter criteria is very difficult to achieve, as new businesses are exploding onto the scene every day, and new sounding names are hard to come by. Coming up with the right name requires patience. First, create a brand strategy statement that sums up your desired image. Then come up with a list of names that fit the tone and mood of your brand. This list should be longish, as you’ll need to do your due diligence and see what names are taken on the web. Once you narrow it down to your best choice, I would also seriously consider trademarking your name. A good trademark lawyer can help. But first, you can search the US Patent and Trademark website on your own to see what’s out there. Go to www.uspto.gov

There’s a great article in a recent issue of W magazine that captures the height of the unique name frenzy happening in the fashion world. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. You can read it here:

The Name Game: On Racks and Web Sites Throughout the Land, It’s the Era of the Sartorial Head-Scratcher,”
by Dana Wood

In another post, I’ll write about some naming strategies, especially those that I use when working with clients.

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