The Gabicci brand was first created in London in 1973 by two friends, Jack Sofier and Alex Pyser, as a knitwear label. The name was inspired by a visit to the Italian coastal town of Gabicce Mare, and the label's logo (with its distinctive ‘G’) was formed in recognition of the excellence of Italian style. Although the brand was originally targeted at a more 'sophisticated' middle-aged market, it was the youth market that enthusiastically adopted the label. This often happens in the UK fashion scene, as Burberry, Aquascutum and Barbour can well attest.
As the brand caught on in the 1970s, it soon became a regular sight in the burgeoning reggae dance halls of London, Birmingham and Manchester, as well as on the terraces of football clubs such as Liverpool. So popular was the brand that it became a favourite of Bob Marley and the ska band The Specials – and, more recently, London-based star Labrinth.
However, it was the revered reggae singer Gregory Isaacs (15 July 1951–25 October 2010) who is most associated with the label. His widow recently worked with the label owners on the 2020 capsule collection of vintage Gabicci designs celebrating Isaac’s unique style. The collection is the latest highlight for a label that has moved back into prominence in recent years.
Back in fashion
As is often the case in the fickle world of fashion, brands can go in and out of favour, and/or lose prominence as they change ownership. The Gabicci label faded from view somewhat in the early 1990s, even being acquired along the way by the Manchester-based owner of the ‘rave’ clothing label, Joe Bloggs.
Now, the Gabicci brand is under new ownership and has been formally relaunched worldwide. Novagraaf is very excited to assist with brand building and protection, especially in new markets, for the clothing range. As with any relaunched brand, tidying up ownership IP issues, filling vital gaps in the portfolio, tackling third-party attempts to appropriate the brand and an effective watching service are all part of the arsenal of tactics to help the label move forward.
IP and fashion revivals
As more and more consumers rediscover and re-embrace heritage brands such as Gabicci, this offers these labels new opportunities for retail and market expansion. From an IP perspective, there are certain steps that also need to be put in place, if that expansion is to be properly supported and protected. Depending on the brand, this typically includes:
- Undertaking an IP audit to assess the current state of the portfolio;
- Assessing potential chain of title or validity issues, if the company has had multiple owners over the years or the brand has not been used for some time;
- Registering trademark/design rights, as appropriate, to fill any gaps in protection and/or to support the brand's market intentions;
- Putting licensing and/or confidentiality agreements in place with any third parties (e.g. manufacturers of goods) to ensure you protect IP and keep the benefit of that use for the brand owner;
- Setting a strategy to monitor and enforce against third-party infringement, including brand appropriation, both off and online;
- Setting up an effective trademark watching service in relevant markets to promptly identify potentially damaging trademark applications.
All or some of the above will be necessary, depending on the brand and its plans for relaunch. Where possible, it is advisable to consult with an IP attorney for tailored advice before the launch or relaunch of a brand. To find out more, speak to your Novagraaf consultant or contact us below.
Alastair Rawlence is a Senior Trademark Attorney in Novagraaf’s Manchester office.
All images: copyright Gabicci