Vogue
Vogue

Try to keep up here.

Advance Publications, parent company of Vogue Magazine, is suing Nareasha Willis, a 26-year-old designer and activist, in federal court for trademark infringement. Willis is the creator of the Black Vogue clothing line and the company claims she is violating trademark law.

In an odd twist, Teen Vogue ran a story on Willis and Black Vogue earlier this year, which praised Willis and her company.

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“My goal when creating my brand Black Vogue and designing apparel has been to communicate many thoughts and facts that we as a community already know and have said to one another in private conversations,” Willis told the magazine in May. One of Willis’ Black Vogue designs — “Ghetto Until Proven Fashionable” — even appeared on a Vogue fashion month street style gallery.

Willis attempted to trademark Black Vogue earlier this year, which tipped off Advance’s attorneys. On May 23, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected Willis’ application, finding that it was too similar to Advance’s. Shortly thereafter, Willis was served with a cease and desist order from Advance which she ignored, thus triggering the lawsuit.

One of Willis’ designs very clearly shows the word “Vogue” in similar font to the magazine’s cover. Willis insists that the name is fair use and hopes the courts will see it her way.

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“We don’t want the brand, we ultimately want to be celebrated and the deserved recognition,” Willis said in a statement. “I am not the only designer that a major magazine has gone after, nor will I be the last, but I do plan for them to hear me out, hear us out and understand that the word ‘vogue’ is for everyone, especially for the Black Culture.”

Not exactly.

The Vogue name has been owned by its original publisher Conde Nast since the magazine debuted as a fashion newsletter in New York in 1892. The trademark was acquired by Advance when the company bought out Conde Nast in 1955.