The Sartorialist is without a doubt one of the most recognizable names in street style blogging. It’s also one that founder Scott Schuman trademarked years ago, even before he really made a name for himself in the industry, ventured into print, and began shooting big time fashion campaigns and editorials.
But that hasn’t stopped the spawning of copycat blogs like the Campus Sartorialist, which takes Schuman’s concept to the stomping grounds of college students worldwide. The site was started by Robert Wainblat, a 24-year-old student at Duke University in North Carolina, and has since expanded to include more than 40 schools around the world. The site undoubtedly has plenty of merit in its own right, but Wainblat made the unwise decision to use the name of an existing blog when he founded the site. Whether he was trying to capitalize on the Sartorialist’s online caché or merely paying homage is not addressed in the profile The Daily Beast ran of the blog on Wednesday, but it did mention that the Campus Sartorialist received an email earlier this week, requesting the site change its name to avoid further trademark infringement. Schuman explained his actions to the reporter:
“I commend their entrepreneurial spirit and think the idea is great, but they don’t need my name to continue to be successful. If the site keeps growing it’s going to create a lot of confusion down the road. People might think The Sartorialist sponsors their site. They have to be prepared for success and using an already established, trademarked name will just make that more difficult.”
But lest you think Schuman is seeking out trouble for the sake of bolstering his own ego, Fashionista spoke to the photographer yesterday, and he assures readers that this is not the case:
“I really hate this part of my job, I hate being put in this position, feeling like I’m the establishment trying to squash someone’s dream. I don’t want to do that. But the site is good, it doesn’t need my name to be successful.”
And while we’ve disagreed with Schuman’s arguments many, many, many times in the past, in this case we’re on board — a trademark’s a trademark and there’s no question that using a marquée name as a major part of your website’s own can lead to a confusing experience for newbie readers and potential advertisers alike.