Brian Lichtenberg has landed himself in a whole lot of trouble over his designer drug t-shirts, which, we suspect, was the aim of his game – no publicity being bad publicity and all of that! Lichtenburg, famous for his designer parody t-shirts (Homies, Feline, Burrr), introduced three new t-shirts to his line reading Xanax, Vicodin and Adderall, at Los Angeles clothing boutique Kitson. The t-shirts retail at between $50 and $100 dollars.
Now the three drug manufacturers are reportedly contemplating suing Kitson for selling the t-shirts. It’s not quite clear what nature the lawsuit will take. Although each of the companies own the trademarks for the names, this is in respect of pharmaceuticals. They do not own the marks for the class covering clothing. We suspect they’ll argue dilution of their trademark. Actually we suspect the t-shirts will be pulled before it comes to this. Neither Lichtenberg nor Kitson will have the funds to take on a pharmaceutical giant in an ugly lawsuit!
Even before the whispers of trademark infringement the t-shirts had caused a media furoir over claims of glorifying drug culture. Fans also took to twitter to show their disgust. A representative from one of the producers of Adderall said: ‘We had no involvement NOR do we approve of the sale of such a product using Adderall to glorify the misuse of our product.’And a spokesperson from Abbott, the firm behind Vicodin, added: ‘Prescription drug use should not be trivialized. In response to the negative reactions, the store released a statement defending them as ‘art’ and a ‘parody of ‘pop culture’. It also launched a banner on its website in a bid to win back customers, stating that a portion of proceeds will be donated to the Medicine Abuse Project.
Despite the negative backlash we suspect the controversy and media coverage of the matter has created the publicity that Lichenberg and Kitson desired. And Lichtenberg still has one loyal fan. A day before the controversy began, Lindsay Lohan tweeted at Mr Lichtenberg: ‘Prob late to the party but love your new line.’ We’re not sure she realised they were parody t-shirts.