Protected Pleat: New Perry Ellis bio celebrates trademarked innovation

American designer Perry Ellis, celebrated in a new and comprehensive biography, was a true innovator -- in fashion design and in law. 

Not only did he embrace licensing as a means of extending his empire, but his eponymous company also posthumously trademarked his signature shoulder pleat on men's shirts (and subsequently used in many other garments, from coats to women's jackets).  Quite a cutting-edge trade dress registration for 1997.


Photo of Perry's pleat and drawing for U.S. trademark number 2037960.  "The mark consists of a pleat of fabric which runs from the shoulder to the cuff on each sleeve of a shirt which is not part of the mark but is shown to indicate the position of the mark."

Congratulations to designer Jeffrey Banks -- an American original in his own right, as well as an eloquent advocate of design protection -- and to his co-authors on a beautiful volume lauding the all-too-short life and long-lived influence of one of the pillars of American style.  Enjoy the book, but remember, please don't pilfer Perry's pleats!