Saturday, October 4, 2014

Vintage Fashion Trademarks

This is about trademarks on labels in vintage fashion.
Anyone who loves vintage and wants ONLY true vintage should be familiar with trademarks on labels.

I am amazed at what sellers of vintage sell AS vintage but they are so WRONG about their dating.  (I could go on and on about the 80’s and how so many eras were reproduced back then and someday I will).

It should be a “given” that sellers know all about what they are selling, but too many of them don’t .  Here’s how you can be smarter than the seller.

Be a Vintage Fashion Detective.

The best site for trademarks is called (link below).
The only thing is, you have to know how to use it.

First does the item listing SHOW the label?  It’s not enough to mention them.  They must be shown!  Many companies use several different logos during their history of production.  Some use only one and then go out of business.   So you need to see the label to know if and when it was registered.

If it has an “R” or a “TM” next to the logo, you know it has been officially trademarked or registered for a trademark.

So go to

Then put in the name exactly as it appears on the label.  It’s picky, so if it doesn’t come up the first time, you may have to enter it in different ways (like adding all the dots and dashes if they exist on the logo, but it’s not case-sensitive)

NOTE:  if there is no TM or R by the name, the label could be from before it was trademarked or registered, or was never TM’d or registered at all.  Sometimes you will be sent straight to a page where it tells you how to get a trademark for whatever item you are searching.

That means it's time to give it up and find another way to date your item…..
Sometimes, certain names are used over and over so there may be 40 pages or more of that name, but in different logos and fonts.  Be patient, look through all of them until you find a matching logo.  Sometimes they don’t have photos of some logos , but it will tell you what the company sells. 

Like, if you looking for women’s clothing, you can skip the sellers of baked goods or automobile parts….

When you find it, click on the logo (or lack of one) then scroll down.  It will tell you when this logo was first used, but not official yet.  A lot of companies use logos that are not officially trademarked until they apply for it.

This is very important because the date it was first used (no officially registered trademark) doesn’t mean the item is that old!  As a fellow member of the Vintage Fashion Guild once stated, “Beware of the common mistake of confusing “oldest it can be” with actual age.”

So then scroll back up and check the filing date and most important, the registration date.  On top of the page you will see if it was renewed or cancelled.  If it was cancelled, you would know that the item can be no newer than the cancellation date.

OK.  This was informative but not as entertaining as I would like it to be.  So for once "school is in".

All this can be time-consuming but many find this research is big fun.  It pays to be knowledgeable about what you are buying.  Imagine going to a yard sale or an estate sale and when the seller tries to tell you that the dress is from the 1940s, you can throw it back at them and tell them you know better because:
There are lots of other ways to tell the age!

What are the shoulder pads like?
Are they triangles?  40s to 50s
Are they shaped like a half of a pie and really thick?  80s
Are they flat triangles with a rounded edge?  70s.
Shoulder pads were not in style through the 60s.

Metal zipper on the side?  30s 40s to early 50s
Metal zipper in the back?  Mid 50s to mid 60s
Acrylic or nylon zippers?  Mid 60s to present
“Invisible” zippers?  70s to present

So there you go.  You are on your way to being a Vintage Fashion Detective of the highest order!

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