The internet is a weird and wonderful thing – we have websites dedicated to enthusiasts of anything and everything your average person could ever hope to imagine. Even so, I was fascinated to find You Thought We Wouldn’t Notice, a website dedicated to breachers of intellectual copyright – specifically in the design arts. And guess who their latest target is? None other than New Zealand’s own Cassius Eyewear.
And like Mr Clay, Cassius’ namesake, they haven’t pulled any punches. In a post that points out the, ahem, similarities between Cassius’ debut collection of sunglasses and famous heritage sunglasses, You Thought We Wouldn’t Notice wrote:
“It seems we have a bad case of some kiwi’s given it a good ol poke. they have released their first “collection” of sunglasses. only instead of doing something unique they decided to “take inspiration” from some of the best known sunglass designs in History. im sure that you would all notice the Original Persol 649 that was notoriously worn by Steve McQueen. or Maybe the most well known of all the Cazal 607. worn by Run DMC! As you can see the list goes on. hey inspiration is one thing. but releasiing designs as your own that look VERY similar heritage sunglass designs for your debut collection is just plain silly, shame on you cassius.”
Call it copying, call it appropriating or call it referencing, but I’d be surprised to hear anyone call it incorrect. You Thought We Wouldn’t Notice did, and this blogger thinks they’re onto something.
In their own press release for the launch of the brand, Cassius said the following, and I will highlight the ironic words:
“Embodying a sense of nonconformity, and reviving a style and class of eyewear long forgotten by the major fashion houses, Cassius makes a unique departure from the proliferation of generic branded eyewear on the market. Founder and creative director Jason Ng references the look and attitude of the 1960’s and 70’s but for a new generation of modern consumer, filling a niche for the avid vintage collectors and eyewear connoisseurs who want individuality, classic styling and quality.”
Despite the bad press, Cassius Eyewear appears to be doing pretty well, with, according to them, stockists in “Edmonton, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, Osaka, Rotterdam, San Francisco, Sydney and Tokyo”. And why wouldn’t they be? Those styles have, after all, proven to be pretty popular in the past.