For their first physical show since teaming up to take on Prada’s most important creative role, longtime Creative Director Miuccia Prada and new partner Raf Simons, who joined the brand last year, have simultaneously sent nearly 40 looks on models in Milan and Shanghai. following on from a presentation they called a “new possibility” by emphasizing the notion of “community” – even if this community is represented, in part, on large LED screens.
Beyond the set-up, there was one element, in particular, that jumped into the collection: the continued adoption and emphasis on a clean-cut version of the Prada triangle that the Milanese brand has affixed to its bags and more. accessories. for several decades. As we noted earlier, Prada’s uses of its trademark triangle to date have been largely uniform in that the inverted triangle is placed on clothing and accessories – along with the words “PRADA Milano”, as well as “DAL 1913”, which is a nod to the year of foundation, and a tiny coat of arms included in the limits of the form.
In more recent seasons, however, as Prada’s triangular logo roamed its collections, the use of the traditional triangle was complemented by Prada’s use of the same small triangular symbol, albeit on its own – that is. – say without the Prada name and / or other identifying information. An empty triangle has appeared on the invitations to the brand’s fall-winter 2021 show, and the side of hats in one of the brand’s 2020 menswear collections, as well as spring / summer 2021 clothing. Fast forward one year to spring-summer 2022 and using the blank triangle – or in some cases, a triangle that simply bears a single word, Prada – was more cohesive than ever. Nary took a look or two without an almost naked triangle adorning a pointed toe back strap, earring, armband, or the left breast of a top or dress.
As I documented in a previous article, the most immediate reading of the play here is that Prada is looking to expand its rights to the triangular trademark. Since the vast majority of his trademark uses to date have included the Prada name and the details “Milano” and “DAL 1913”, his trademark rights are likely limited to a mark representing these various details. By releasing a stripped-down version of the triangle (which can probably be compared to some extent to how brands across the board adopted streamlined versions of their word marks not too long ago), Prada is doing something interesting: it potentially positions itself to take advantage of more extensive rights over the small logo, and (at least theoretically) to enforce these rights against the use of similar triangular designs in cases where the “PRADA Milano”, ” DAL 1913 “and the tiny coat of arms are missing from the equation.
And there are more and more examples of this – blatant fast fashion copies to uses of the triangle by marks located in the same situation this can confuse consumers as to the source.
It is a likely driver behind the introduction of more streamlined logos by Prada, and in fact, in pursuit of what appears to be a greater effort to expand its rights to the triangular logo, Prada has filed for registration. trademark for a (although, not completely empty) triangular trademark with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (below, right) in June. This may ultimately pave the way for the trademark to claim rights in its specific use of a completely blank triangular trademark – in relation to specific goods / services – at some point … assuming Prada can show that the triangle is “used in such a way as to make a visual impression such that the viewer would see it as a symbol of origin separate and apart from all the rest,” as one SDNY judge recalled in 1998.
But there is probably more going on here than an incremental seizure of rights by Prada; it is also a growth-oriented cash grab. It should be noted that Prada’s adoption of a streamlined branding in recent seasons has not replaced its use of a more traditional branding. In fact, the blank or partially blank triangles appear in the collections with the more traditional offerings of the brand (i.e. the triangles with the name Prada, Milano, etc.). With that in mind, it looks like Prada may be looking to cast a wider net. In other words, by diversifying its offerings (i.e. varying its approach to the brand), Prada can address a wider pool of luxury buyers.
Considering the size of the luxury goods market and the varying tastes and demands of consumers around the world, it’s realistic to assume that people will want different things from the same brand. Look no further than the Chinese market, where change will inevitably occur in light of the government’s push for “common prosperity,” which is expected to drive consumers away from ostentatious luxury branded goods, less for the foreseeable future. future. At the same time, President Xi Jinping’s latest crackdown on wealth inequality in China is unlikely to cause Western consumers to shed logos now. So, for brands to continue to thrive in an increasingly fragmented global market, they need to diversify their offerings – potentially within each collection.
(Most of the big brands already do this, of course. Louis Vuitton, for example, is known to target the Asian market with bags made from more exotic materials than some other markets due to established consumer preferences.)
Finally, since the revenues and margins of most luxury brands owned by conglomerates are generated by the high turnover of branded products, source indicators – such as visible brand names, logos , monograms, red zippers, etc. not leaving anytime soon. So while Prada’s blank triangle may be a relatively clean branding image, it is nonetheless used as a branding image, and there’s a good chance that it will still serve to indicate the source of the dress or bag. someone’s hand – albeit in a slightly more understated way. – informed consumers.