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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, which was 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 to the interest of closing an ethical agreement with the creative communities of Saltillo, Coahuila, and Contla, Tlaxcala, with whom a negotiating table had begun.”

The Ministry of Culture indicated that the speed with which the brand launched the 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 in several meetings the creators of Coahuila and Tlaxcala presented the request 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 organize an international seminar on the collective rights.

Another request was for the brand to explore the possibility of making a collection in collaboration with the creative communities. Given this, Comme des Garçons proposed exploring this possibility in a second stage.

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

The agency highlighted that during the publicity launch of the collection, the creators who had been working on the collaborative project were not mentioned at any time, thus incurring in a bad practice.

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

Another of the accusations made by the agency is that the Japanese brand stated that it was working in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, this being wrong since the unit had only served as a facilitator during the negotiation process, it is indicated in a statement.

The agency has previously accused companies such as Zara, Louis Vuitton, among others of using designs without authorization from the corresponding communities.

The Ministry of Culture has carried out actions to defend the cultural heritage of indigenous communities in order to prevent the plagiarism of their identity elements by national and transnational companies. This 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 with respect to said heritage.

Thus, “misappropriation” is the name given to the action of a national or foreign natural or legal person, by means of which 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 give it in accordance with the provisions of the law.

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