Alexander McQueen to be sued by Hells Angels

28 October 2010

Another day, another fashion-related lawsuit. This time it is Hells Angels Motorcycle Club suing the Alexander McQueen label for using its Winged Death’s Head logo in designs – a knuckle duster ring, a clutch bag with a knuckle duster clasp and a scarf and dress.

Designers get inspiration from a wide variety of sources but the Hells Angels are particularly cross because their emblem has been trademarked for years AND the pieces are named ‘Hells four finger ring’ and ‘Hells Knuckle duster clutch’ and the scarf and dress are named ‘Hells Angels’

You don’t actually hear that much about the ol’ Hells Angels these days – you know they pop up in lots of films as a kind of visual shorthand for "scary thug". The biker subculture, originally from the States, is actually a rigid hierarchy with very strict rules. Ostensibly a motorcycle hobby club, the bikers have often been accused of involvement in organised crime and violent shenanigans. Hells Angels take the club very seriously and their logo is no exception. It takes an individual years to work up to the stage where they are awarded the "patch" (a fabric badge they can sew onto their jacket) and if they leave, or are thrown out, they have to give it back! Instead of dispatching a bearded, baseball bat wielding gang to the McQueen HQ, the Angels are taking the matter to court.

he lawyer for the bikers, Fritz Clapp, said

[I went on] 'Alexander McQueen’s site and I find not only is the word "Hells" used on those things, but "Hells Angels," the whole phrase, on a pashmina scarf and a Jacquard dress,' Clapp said. 'If you’d said to the designer, "Just give me a side view skull with feathers coming off of it" and they’d never seen the death head or a Hells Angels patch and they’d just come from Mars, it’s still closer than comfort.'

Oh dear, Sarah Burton and the team at Alexander McQueen, what have you gone and done?



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