What’s In A Name?
December 6, 2012 7:19 am
By: Matthew McDermott
In November, Gawker’s Hamilton Nolan wrote an expose on San Francisco-based clothing retailer Unionmade (www.unionmadegoods.com), a purveyor of expensive workwear inspired clothing that has been featured in GQ and the SF Weekly, among others. The clothing store, whose label bears a striking resemblance to the AFL-CIO logo, has admitted that most of its goods are not, in fact, “union made,” and that the name is meant to hearken back to a time when goods were made with pride and care.
The name UNIONMADE is an overarching concept and narrative for the store, signifying that we strive to carry well made and aesthetically timeless goods.
Last week, the AFL-CIO sent a demand (via its lawyers) that Unionmade stop using its logo and change the name of its store to something that “does not deceive the public into thinking that they are purchasing items that are actually made by union workers.”
The letter states:
The AFL-CIO finds your use of the UNIONMADE mark highly misleading as the dictionary definition and understanding amongst the public is that “union-made” means “produced by workers belonging to a labor union.” See Dictionary.com.
The AFL-CIO letter goes on to call out the hip retailer for banking on the extensive goodwill associated with the AFL-CIO handshake logo. Though the results of their efforts remain to be seen, private sector unions face an uphill battle already without interlopers attempting to reduce unionized labor to a historical idea or a fashion statement.
Image from here
[Editor's Note: Though Unionosity supports the AFL-CIO in their efforts to reclaim the union label, it should be noted that much of the clothing that Unionmade sells is made in the USA and manufactured in conditions far better than the typical corporate retail clothier. Unionmade also does carry some "union made" brands, such as Redwing shoes. Go to Labor 411 for a guide to products made by union workers.]