Society’s growing interest in the fashion industry has not only spawned dozens of style blogs and television shows, but also a slew off-kilter businesses that produce snarky spoofs on luxury labels. Brands like Conflict of Interest hawk shirts that say “Ill Slander” (rather than Jil Sander) and “Brawlmain” (instead of Balmain), and stores like Reason, in Manhattan’s East Village, also sell fashion parody merchandise.
But one new spoof, with just 26 pieces of merchandise in circulation, has managed to cut through the noise—even attracting fans like model-of-the-moment Cara Delevingne. The pseudo brand, called KTHANKSBYE, was started as a joke by a master’s candidate in graphic design at Parsons. Now the student, Fahad, who asked that his last name not be used for privacy reasons, has designed a riff on Cartier that’s making waves in the fashion world.
It all started one day in July, he said, when he was talking to a friend about a recent visit to a Cartier store. “She was having a watch fixed and they were giving her trouble, and she was like, ‘Ugh, they are being cunts,’ and I was like, ‘Oooh, they are Cuntier!’” he told The Daily Beast.
Purely as a joke, he said, Fahad soon had two knit hats embroidered with ‘Cuntier’ in the same typeface as Cartier’s scripty logo, fabricating the beanies in the same Bordeaux red as Cartier’s famous boxes. Initially, the hats were supposed to be a one-off, but then passers-by starting asking Fahad where they could buy the Cuntier headgear. He gave six of them to his friends at the cool new downtown store American Two Shot, which sold a snap-back style for $50 and the beanie for $45.
KTHANKSBYE soon evolved into a miniature brand, with two product offerings and a tiny production run of 26 pieces in total. “I never wanted to make money off of the hats,” Fahad said. “I just wanted to prove something to myself…I only moved to New York a year ago.”
He was flabbergasted, he said, when he received an email from Cartier last Friday, “saying that I have to stop doing it and that they see it as an infringement.” The letter, which requested “inventory figures and a bunch of invoices regarding manufacturing, production, and wholesale,” perplexed the design student, who has “no idea how they got in contact with me, my name isn’t on [my] website.” He added: “I don’t have any of these things because I don’t have mass production.”
Cartier did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But Fahad said he “sent [Cartier] all the stuff they needed from me,” on Wednesday night. “I am done doing the Cuntier,” he explained. “I’m now going to do a new brand.”
Cartier’s move still has Fahad confused, he said. “At the end of the day they’re just hats,” he added.