Clothing The Gap, a locally-run label and social enterprise based in the inner north of Naarm/Melbourne, is changing its name after a two-year legal battle with US clothing retail company, GAP Inc.
As per the ABC, the legal issues began when the First Nations-run label moved to trademark the term ‘Clothing The Gap’ in 2019, and the label’s founders were met with a cease and desist letter from the American juggernaut.
Gunditjmara woman Laura Thompson – one of the label’s co-founders – told the ABC she was surprised by the letter, because they hadn’t even thought about the American clothing brand when coming up with their label’s name. It was created as a play on the term “closing the gap” in regards to equality in Australia.
But after a long stoush against the American brand, which still has over 3000 locations despite shuttering its Australian shops in 2018, a judge ruled the smaller Indigenous Australian label must officially change its name by the end of July 2021.
“When we registered Clothing The Gap with the trademark through Spark Health, I guess we thought it was a play on words with closing the gap,” Ms Thompson said.
“In the background, we’ve had uncertainty around our brand for the last two years; we’ve been continuing to call ourselves Clothing The Gap, knowing very well that we’re going to have to rebrand at some stage.”
After recognising that the more important fights to focus on are the ones that bring equality and justice to First Nations people in Australia, the label has accepted the judge’s rule. So it’s doing a big rebrand, and its name to Clothing The Gaps – which is apparently fine.
Because the label also uses its name on all of its apparel and accessories, Clothing The Gaps is now selling all of its original stock before the end of July, when it can no longer use the old name.
The label has also said that it’ll be releasing a new range of designs with the incoming rebrand, and will focus its energy on the Free The Flag campaign, after the exclusive rights to the image was leased to a non-Indigenous company in 2018.