The meaning of a Louis Vuitton binbag

Visiting the Best of Britannia trade exhibition in Clerkenwell I see the backlash against digital media is being kickstarted by Artomatic, a ‘physical communications agency’.


It makes you wonder if in future everything not digital, virtual or synthetic ¬†will feel compelled to add the ‘physical’ or “real” prefixes.

Anyway I suppose it’s an interesting idea, one that moved some people in the publishing industry to begin producing more attractive books to compete with Kindle.

I’m not sure what ‘referencing concepts’ means, but I quite like Artomatic’s Louis Vuitton bin bag.


They made it to sell in their shops in Clerkenwell and Selfridges in 1999, as a comment on people’s branded goods – they thought Louis Vuitton was ‘the ultimate branded good’ and it had occurred to them that bin bags have never been branded.

Anyway, Louis Vuitton got in touch very quickly, and made Artomatic withdraw the bags from sale. I imagine it’s very pleasing for anyone, or least anyone who doesn’t work for LV, to imagine the discussions and legal letters; I also found myself wondering who told them, a spy or a sneak, or a good employee who worked in the Selfridges concession. I imagined a sort of Alan Bennett-ish conversation.

‘I think you ought to know, someone here’s selling binbags with your pattern on them.’

‘… A binbag?’

‘Yes, a bin bag! A disposable bag for your dustbin. I mean, I’m sure you don’t make bin bags, do you?’

“Who is this, exactly?” etc etc.