This article was originally written by Victoria Gallagher for Drapers.
Premium womenswear indie Black White Denim is preparing for a legal battle after a South African company revealed plans to launch a store with the same name and concept.
The Scottish Knitwear Group, which runs stores for Pringle and Ben Sherman in South Africa, has approached brands stocked by Black White Denim, saying the group was setting up a store called
Black White Denim in South Africa. It is due to open in Johannesburg’s wealthy Sandton district.
Material sent out to potential partners said: “Black White Denim is an exciting new retail concept being introduced to the South African market by The Scottish Knitwear Group.”
It went on to describe black and white as the “foundation colour[s]” and “building blocks” of a woman’s wardrobe, phrases already used by the indie, based in Wilmslow, Cheshire.
David Bell, business partner of Black White Denim owner Jo Davies, has written to The Scottish Knitwear Group requesting it drop the Black White Denim name. He received a response saying the project had been “initiated with absolutely no ill intent” and would go ahead. Bell told Drapers he now plans to pursue the matter in court.
However, Stephen Sidkin, chair of the fashion law group at law firm Fox Williams, warned the case could be costly and difficult to prove, but did cite recent instances of cases where retailers have successfully challenged companies who have “borrowed concepts”.
The Scottish Knitwear Group declined to comment.