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That's how K-Way ended up in Italian dictionaries

What happens when a registered trademark enters the official language?

That's how K-Way ended up in Italian dictionaries What happens when a registered trademark enters the official language?

There are some brands and products so iconic that over the years they have entered pop culture, landing on the pages of the dictionaries with the indication ®, meaning Registered Trademarks. When this happens, the brand is condidered to be “ultra-notorius” and its products are so popular that the become part of the collective imagination of a generation. Precisely to these brands that have conquered a space all right in the Italian dictionaries is dedicated the exhibition conceived and organized by K-WAY in collaboration with nss factory, "K-Way Gallery - Ma®chi da Dizionario" that will be held tomorrow January 8th at the Palazzo della Borse of Florence during the Pitti.

The spreading of a brand in pop culture can mean several things for a brand. If entering the dicitonaries is, on the one hand, the best demonstration of its success, being confused tout court with an entire category of products can damage the brands that, precisely to avoid this generalization, must take measures to preserve their identity and originality. This is the case of Nutella, whose name was mentioned in a dictionary as a generic synonym for "spreadable cream". In order not to lose the unique characteristics associated with its brand and its image, Ferrero demanded and obtained that the name of Nutella appear in the dictionary with the symbol ® of registered trademarks. The same has happened for many other products, among which K-Way.

In the field of clothing, that of K-Way, born in Paris in 1965, is one of the most emblematic cases. Its creator Léon-Claude Duhamél wanted to find an answer to the classic raincoat, creating a windproof and rainproof jacket that was practical and unwieldy. The result of his efforts was a jacket that could be folded up on itself and locked in a small portable pocket to hang on the wearer’s belt. The original name of the jacket was "En cas de", which was later changed by an advertising agent holding the sound "cas", transliterated to "K" (which is pronounced "Ka" in French), and added the English "way" to make the jacket more palatable to the Anglophone audience. In the following years the waterproof and ultralight jacket became so famous that the brand itself used ironically the fame of its name for a famous slogan that appeared in Topolino magazine that read: "K-Way®: proper name of jacket".

Many materials that are ubiquitous in our clothes today have become ultra-notorius brands in the dictionary: it's the case of Velcro, conceived by Georges de Mestral in the fifties, that distinguishes a brilliant system of rapid closure. Others are now usually used in Italy: the best exemple is nylon, created by the US company Dupont and named after the scratchy acronym "Now You Lose Old Nippon" which referred to the fact that, thanks to the new material, the USA would no longer be dependent on Japan's thirst for parachute production. 

Some global companies have been able to resist the generalization of their brand, among them Ferrero, with the aforementioned Nutella case, and Coca-Cola. Even in these cases, it was the activity placed in defense of the brands by their owners that decreed the fate despite the popularity of a certain name and, consequently, of a certain brand.
The packaging and ads of these and many other products will be the protagonists of the four halls of the exhibit that will be held tomorrow in Florence. The story that these iconic brands will unfold through a path organized according to the colors and product categories of the objects and will anticipate the mood of the K-Way show that will be held soon after. For all the information and updates on the exhibition, stay connected to nss magazine.