Diesel Vs. Zawada: Battle Of The Floral Hat

Italian denim makers Diesel didn’t invent the floral headpiece – and Australia graphic designer Jonathan Zawada didn’t either. Ever since Carmen Miranda samba-ed her way into the hearts of millions with her tropicalismo maraca-shaking joie de vivre, the ‘ridiculous headdress’ trend has come back into fashion time and time again. Most recently the Pricilla Queen of the Desert revivial (thanks to the musical adaptation taking London’s West End by storm!) has been attributed to bringing altitudinous headwear back in vogue once again. [Disclaimer: I made that up].

In 2009 the floral headdress sprouted back into style like a beanstalk germinating in the cranium, at which time Jonathan Zawada created a flower hat/mask hybrid for a 2009 Melbourne Fashion Week exhibition that was photographed by Ben Sullivan. Recently Zawada got in touch with Pedestrian to bring to our attention an image that Diesel had used as part of their ‘Be Stupid’ campaign which bore a striking resemblance to the Zawada/Sullivan shot – a resemblance that was a little too similar according to Jonathan Zawada.

He told us, “I guess we’d say that we found it pretty disappointing that a company like Diesel, with such a creative reputation and large amount of resources at their disposal couldn’t manage to at least push our meagre little idea any further than we did (and that they dropped the banana, one of the best parts of the image!). Especially disappointing considering the tagline which leads you to believe their effortless cool and creativity just comes flowing unstoppably forth, 24/7.”

The debate over intellectual property pops up time and time again. The American writer Fran Lebowitz once said “Original thought is like original sin: both happened before you were born to people you could not have possibly met”, and that’s what got me thinking about Carmen Miranda; while truly original thought and design are rare these days, do you think the similarity between the images below is a case of coincidence or copying? You be the judge…

Jonathan Zawada:

Diesel campaign: