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Montana Company Sues A Fashion Giant Over Copyrighted Camo Print


All right. The big New York streetware brand Supreme is often the target of counterfeit knockoffs. Now they are being sued for allegedly ripping off other brands. A Montana company says Supreme copied their original camouflage print. Yellowstone Public Radio's Olivia Reingold reports.

OLIVIA REINGOLD, BYLINE: Every Wednesday in Billings, Mont., a group of hunters who call themselves the Possum Lodge get together at a local gun shop to show off antique guns and crack sarcastic jokes.

DAN HOLLINGWORTH: Aim it and pull it. (Vocalizing). Out the barrel it goes. And down goes the duck, ready for dinner.

REINGOLD: Dan Hollingworth (ph) says they wear camo because it's functional. He owns a jacket like the one Montana-based ASAT Outdoors says Supreme copied.

HOLLINGWORTH: It's just a scattered pattern that's meant to disperse any lines you see out in the open.

REINGOLD: The idea is to break up your silhouette so that animals can't see your outline. ASAT's camo isn't green. It's earth-toned with overlapping lines that look like black and brown antlers. The company touts it in a promotional video.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: How many times have you seen a deer and had that same deer vanish before your very eyes? Do they have any green in their camouflage? No. They're tan, brown and black, just like ASAT.

MARTIN: But camo isn't just for hunters. It was a bona fide fashion trend this fall. Powerhouse brands like Miu Miu and Nicole Miller put military-esque prints on the runway. Camo was on mannequins in the mall in Forever 21 and Zara. Supreme offered cameo sweaters, pants and jackets that Montana's ASAT is now suing them over, alleging copyright infringement. And Supreme is a big deal. This is what happens on YouTube every time they put out a new collection.


UNIDENTIFIED YOUTUBER #1: Oh, my God. I need these.

UNIDENTIFIED YOUTUBER #2: Dude, this is so sweet.

UNIDENTIFIED YOUTUBER #3: The box logo is so freaking beautiful.

REINGOLD: Supreme is valued at a billion dollars and worn by celebrities like Justin Bieber and Madonna. ASAT, which sells its clothes in Walmart and overstock.com, copyrighted their print more than three decades ago. It's now asking Supreme to return the profits they made from their similar-looking design. Supreme has not responded to the lawsuit nor requests for comment. Camo is expected to return as a fashion trend this spring. Dan Hollingworth, the Montana hunter, doesn't really care. He only wears camo when he's out hunting. For NPR News, I'm Olivia Reingold in Billings, Mont. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Olivia Reingold is an associate producer for “Two Way Street” and “Political Rewind.” She grew up in Washington D.C. and recently graduated from Oglethorpe University, where she was a Presidential Scholar and graduated cum laude.