Ministry of Culture accuses a Japanese company of bad practices in negotiating handmade seraphim

The Ministry of Culture accused of malpractice in the negotiation stage with the craft communities of Saltillo and Contla to the company of Japanese origin Like boys.

Comme des Garçons is a Japanese clothing brand founded by Rei Kawakub in 1969. Today, the brand has twelve product lines and a wide range of perfumes.

The federal agency assured in a statement that the company “preferred its commercial calendar over the importance of concluding an ethical agreement with the creative communities of Saltillo, Coahuila and Contla, Tlaxcala, with whom a negotiating table began. “

The Ministry of Culture has indicated that the speed with which the brand Junya Watanabe Man Fall / Winter 2022 Collection had an effect on the negotiation with which the original artists hoped to agree on a fair agreement proposal.

The Secretariat indicated that the creators of Coahuila and Tlaxcala had requested in several meetings to place a label on the garments of the Junya Watanabe Man Fall / Winter 2022 collection, in order to recognize the original right of the artist communities.

In addition, the creators requested a payment, of an amount not specified by the agency, for the rights of origin, as well as support with materials and work equipment. In turn, the brand was asked to jointly hold an international seminar on the collective rights.

Another request was that the brand explore the possibility of creating a collection in collaboration with the creative communities.Given this, Comme des Garçons suggested exploring this possibility in a second phase.

“Despite the fact that both parties agreed to continue negotiations to reach an agreement to be announced in a joint statement,” the brand launched the collection’s advertising campaign on January 17, 2022, and its commercial calendar placed before the interest of concluding a definitive agreement with the original creative communities”, Is indicated in the letter.

The agency stressed that during the publicity launch of the collection, the creators who worked on the collaborative project were not mentioned at any time, and therefore engaged in bad practice.

The statement indicates that the process for said negotiation began on 24 November 2021. The agency said the secretariat at the time received a trademark statement from the Mexican embassy in Japan expressing its interest in knowing what the procedure was to use the traditional serape patterns in some of its designs.

Another of the allegations made by the agency is that the Japanese brand stated that it was cooperating with the Ministry of Culture, this is incorrect as the unit only served as a facilitator during the negotiation process, this is indicated in a statement.

The agency has previously owned companies such as Zara, Louis Vuitton, including the use of designs without the authorization of the corresponding communities.

The Ministry of Culture has taken actions to defend the cultural heritage of indigenous communities in order to prevent the plagiarism of their identity elements by national and transnational corporations. It is supported under the Federal Law for the Protection of the Cultural Heritage of Indigenous and Afro-Mexican Peoples and Communities, which seeks to recognize and guarantee the property rights of indigenous and Afro-Mexican peoples and communities over the elements that make up their cultural heritage, their knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the collective intellectual property relating to that heritage.

Thus, “misappropriation” is the name given to the actions of a national or foreign natural or legal person, whereby he appropriates for himself or for a third party one or more elements of cultural heritage, without the authorization of the people or indigenous or Afro-Mexican community that must provide it in accordance with the provisions of the law.

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