Don't Take Deadly Nightshade!

For centuries, stylish women knew that using deadly nightshade would enhance their natural beauty -- hence the other common name for the plant, belladonna, from the Italian for "beautiful woman." 

Our foremothers also knew that while eyedrops distilled from deadly nightshade dilate the pupils in a manner that they found attractive, the plant is also a dangerous poison.  Ingesting a handful of the toxic berries, or even a single leaf, can kill an adult. 

Fast forward to 2010, when the Toronto midnight bike crew and design collective Deadly Nightshades noticed a certain similarity between its ice-blue satin bomber jackets and two-tone leggings from last spring and fall, respectively (below left), and items currently on sale at American Apparel (below right). The Toronto Street Fashion site quickly joined the cross-border kerfluffle. 

Deadly_Nightshade_v_AmericanApparel_jkts_3-16-10_small.jpgDeadly_Nightshades_v_AmericanApparel_leggings_3-16-10.jpgLegally speaking, the Deadly Nightshades garments are very unlikely to have protection under either Canadian or American law, and in general are fairly basic designs.  (Even Chanel did quickly copied two-tone tights a couple of years ago.)  On the other hand, the American Apparel items are suspiciously similar to the Deadly Nighshades styles, from design to color to fabric choice.  And between financial woes, allegations of sexual harassment, immigration issues, and even a lawsuit by Woody Allen, Dov Charney doesn't need any more bad press.

So a word of caution to American Apparel:  Don't ever take Deadly Nightshade(s).  At least from a reputational perspective it can be, well, deadly.