Global fashion magazine Vogue has threatened a small pub in an English hamlet with legal action unless it changes its name. The magazine’s owner, Conde Nast, says the name of the pub, The Star Inn at Vogue, in the parish of St Day in Cornwall could prove confusing to the general public.
It has sent the pub in the hamlet of Vogue near Redruth a ‘cease and desist’ letter to stop using the name ‘Vogue’ as it is their name, CornwallLive reports. This is despite the pub being more than 200 years old and the hamlet being even older.
The letter asked publicans Mark and Rachel Graham to stop using the name of the Cornish hamlet because it might readers may think the boozer is linked to the glossy magazine. Not surprisingly, when Mark, 60, opened the letter he thought someone was having him on and said: “Surely these people can’t be serious.”
He added: “In this modern day and age someone couldn’t be bothered to go onto Google and see that Vogue is a Cornish hamlet that’s been here for hundreds of years. It seems common sense has taken a backseat on this one.”
In a letter to Mark and Rachel, Condé Nast’s chief operating officer Sabine Vandenbroucke, wrote: “Our company is the proprietor of the Vogue mark, not only for its world-famous magazine first published in November 1916 but in respect of other goods and services offered to the public by our company.
“We are concerned that the name which you are using is going to cause problems because as far as the general public is concerned a connection between your business and ours is likely to be inferred.”
Ms Vandenbroucke’s letter, dated March 1, 2022, also asked Mark and Rachel to provide more information about what type of business the Star Inn Vogue pub is about and any imagery it uses to make sure it obviously can’t be confused with the magazine. At the end it added: “Please reply within seven days or we will take remedial action.”
Mark, who thought some of his punters were having a laugh at his expense, did reply with a long letter, complete with a selection of photos of the pub and street names found in the area, bearing the name Vogue. He thinks Vogue’s confused state may have arisen when he and his wife decided to change their trading status from a partnership to a limited company and the name popped up on Companies House.
In his letter to the New York publisher’s London offices, the publican said: “Whilst I found your letter interesting on the one hand, I also found it hilariously funny. I presume your magazine bases its name on the dictionary term for being in fashion which is uncapitalised as used in the Oxford English Dictionary.
“If a member of your staff had taken the time to investigate they would have discovered that our company, the Star Inn, is in the small village of Vogue, near St Day, Cornwall. Yes, that’s right, Vogue is the name of our village, which has been in existence for hundreds of years and in fact is a Cornish word, not English.
“I note in your letter that you have only been in existence since 1916 and I presume that at the time when you chose the name Vogue in the capitalised version you didn’t seek permission from the villagers of the real Vogue. I also presume that Madonna did not seek your permission to use the word Vogue (again the capitalised version) for her 1990s song of the same name.
“You are both at liberty to use the uncapitalised version without our permission. As a side note she didn’t seek our permission either.”
Mark concluded saying: “In answer to your question whether we would change our name, it is a categorical NO.”
Vogue Magazine has been contacted for comment.