All The Rage

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LAFW: CoLA Fashion Week pulls a KFC

March 18, 2009 |  2:31 pm

What this season's mixed bag of fashion week lacks in runway events, it more than makes up for in Rage_cola2jpg entertainment value. First there was the blood-curdling scream punctuating the kickoff of Saturday's BOXeight shows. Now it's the curious case of CoLA Fashion Week, which announced its existence by news release just two weeks ago under the name "City of Los Angeles Fashion Week" (abbreviated alternately as COLA and CoLA) with the stated intent to: "set the bar not only for this season's fashion week, but every season thereafter." 

The group is holding three shows in downtown Los Angeles on Friday night, and a pair of shows on Saturday, open only to the media and buyers by invitation only.

Yesterday, a CoLA rep e-mailed to say that the group is going acronym-only as a way to avoid any confusion that the group is affiliated with the city of Los Angeles (it's not) -- not unlike the way Kentucky Fried Chicken morphed into KFC when it decided to de-emphasize the "fried" part.

Probably a smart move. We checked in with Phil Lam, intellectual property counsel for the city of Los Angeles, who said appending "The City of Los Angeles" to such an event is the kind of  "implied endorsement, association or affiliation" that would give him concern.

"Now if they called themselves the Official City of Los Angeles Fashion Week, I would definitely have sent them a letter (For the record, Lam had been unaware of the group, and said his office had not requested a name change).

And for the record, CoLA's organizers have decided on permanently lowercasing that "o" for branding purposes.

Interestingly, at the group's website, the list of sponsors now includes Coca-Cola. Now, as long as they avoid referring to themselves as "The Real Thing" of L.A. Fashion Week, they should be in the clear.
-- Adam Tschorn

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