Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Garuda Emblem & Armani

The Garuda (picture below: right) is the national emblem of Indonesia which is considered sacred by the Indonesian people. So when famous fashion designer Georgio Armani used a logo (picture below: left)  basically similar to the Garuda, a group of online activists and lawmakers have threatened to suit Armani for infringement of the national emblem. Please find below an article from The Jakarta Globe.
Indonesia Lawmakers Threaten Suit Over Armani Logo

A new battle is brewing over the use of yet another Indonesian cultural symbol. But this time the alleged culprit is not in Malaysia but a tenant at two upscale shopping malls in Jakarta: Armani.

Members of a popular local Internet forum, Kaskus.com, and some lawmakers claimed on Monday that popular designer label Armani Exchange had ripped off Indonesia’s national symbol, the Garuda Pancasila, for use on a new T-shirt.

“Many of the members were not happy with that,” said Retno Wulandari, 25, a boutique owner and fashion enthusiast who is a member for the forum.

Not missing out on a chance to score political points on an issue of national pride, some members of the House of Representatives threatened to sue Armani Exchange for willfully desecrating the Garuda Pancasila. The offense carries a prison term of one year or a Rp 100 million ($10,700) fine.

“It’s very sensitive using a nation’s symbol for business profit. The Garuda is very sacred to us as a nation,” said Eva Kusuma Sundari, a member of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P
"It's such an insult for us.”

The Armani Exchange A|X Studded Eagle T-Shirt, available at its stores at Grand Indonesia and Senayan City, as well as online, looks nearly identical to the Indonesian national symbol, except the images of a bull and banyan tree were replaced by an “A” and “X.” Also, the national motto “Bhineka Tunggal Ika” (“Unity in Diversity”) located on the bottom of the symbol was replaced by “Armani Exchange.”

Ravelra Supit Lubis, marketing communications manager of Club 21, an official distributor of the Armani Exchange line in Indonesia, agreed that the T-shirt, printed in November, was similar to the Garuda Pancasila symbol.

“But it’s not something new because we have produced several versions of the shirt,” she said. “They have their own concept, and as a distributor we have no option to not order it.”
Hanifa Ambadar, 30, founder of the Indonesian style and beauty Web site Fashionese Daily, pointed out that many Armani T-shirts have a modified eagle.

“I have noticed the debate on the Garuda logo,” she said. “I think we should be happy with that: One of the [designer] brand products uses our country’s symbol. Honestly, it makes me want to buy one.”
Mustafa Kamal, chairman of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) faction at the House, said lawmakers would examine the similarities between the Garuda Pancasila and Armani T-shirt.

“If we find it a form of insult to us as a nation, we will sue the company,” Mustafa said. “But if it’s simply creativity, we will surely let people have their freedom of expression.”


colson said...

It's something for comedy actors. real fun.

(1) The Garuda is awesome though of course.

(2) Yet people wearing Armani can be suspected of being pathetic upstarts.

(3) Considering a logo to be sacrosanct is worse however. To be sensitive on a non-issue like this is so uncool ( and probably something only people wearing Armani are capable of).

(4) But MPs wasting time on the Garuda-Armani case tops it. They should look for an other job.

H. Nizam said...


As images, the Garuda and Armani's logo may be considered basically similar.
But the Garuda Emblem is considered sacred not because of the image but because of the 5 symbols of Pancasila (5 principles) and the moto: Unity in Diversity.
Court judges in Indonesia may possibly be in favor of the protesters. But I am not sure in other countries, may be judges would think like you do.

piSS-bloGGer said...

O iya pak! betul2 seru tuh! tadi sy lihat juga di berita!. Ini menurut bpk! sebuah proses seni komersil atau sebuah proses penghinaan?

iya saya juga comment di tulisan bapak ttg kasus Azhari!!

Anonymous said...

People use the national flag of America and those of European countries as underwear. But that is different I think as Harry says the Garuda is part of the guiding ethos of the Indonesian peoples. Marketers should be more sensitive to this kind of thing.

How would American Armani like it if Indonesia started selling a line of clothes they felt lampooned their Constitution? Maybe they wouldn't care that much but different people hold different things dear and I can see how this has upset some here.

Don't buy Armani: As Colson says you are immediately suspect in any case!

H. Nizam said...


Hal ini perlu dilihat secara arif and bijaksana :

Orang Indonesia mengenal lambang Garuda yang memuat Pancasila dan kata-2 Bhineka Tunggal Ika akan menganggap Armani telah melanggar kehormatan.

Tapi apakah mungkin pengusaha sekaliber Armani melakukannya
secara sengaja?

Untuk lebih jelas perlu penelitian tentang sejarah pembuatan lambang Garuda Pancasila.

H. Nizam said...


From first days at school most Indonesians were taught that the Garuda emblem with Pancasila and Bhineka Tunggal Ika on it is a national emblem.

But I don't think that Armani would intentionally infringe something respected by a nation.

This matter in not important, if we don't like Armani's logo better don't buy Armani.

Kiwi Riverman's Blogesphere said...

Was a patent taken out originally to protect the design?

H. Nizam said...

Kiwi Riverman,

It's very good question.
But this case is about logo use as a product's brand so it is more a trademark matter.

I am not sure whether the Garuda Emblem is registered with our Trademark Office or in other countries. But our TM law gave special protection to such emblems.

I am also not sure whether said Armani's logo is registered in Indonesia. If it is, wouldn't be difficult to request cancellation merely due to the sentiments.

ALRIS said...

Apa Armani dapat inspirasi dari lambang negara kita? Bisa jadi juga. Tapi buat saya gak apa2 juga sih dibuat kaos begituan, biar makin terkenal.
Salam kenal

H. Nizam said...


Terima kasih atas komentar anda.
Karena yang mirip adalah bayangannya saja maka tidak mudah menuduh bahwa Armani menjiplak.

Apalagi lambang Garuda yang kita anggap sebagai lambang terdiri dari burung garuda warna keemasan, 5 sila Pancasila, semboyan Bhineka Tunggal Ika.

Kalau yang dipasang dikaosnya saya juga pikir tidak apa2. Lain hal kalau Garuda Pancasila yang dipakai, kita boleh tersinggung.

Kita masih ada banyak hal lebih penting yang harus dipikirkan dan dilakukan.

pj said...

I was tempted to do a post on this - its rather amusing.

Personaly I don't think that the Armani label looks that much like the Garuda. Furthermore I don't see why Indonesians should be too concerned with people using their cultural icons when Indonesians do the exact same things to others. A few years ago there an election campaign banner for a political party which used the iconic picture of American soldiers raising the flag at Iwo Jima (with the image photoshopped to show an Indonesian Flag) with the ironic caption "remember your history". About the same time there was a campaign to instate Bung Tomo as a national hero which used the iconic photo of Che Guevera (with a photoshopped indonesian hat) masquerading as the good "Bung". I don't even want to get started on all that pirated DVD, software, perfume, clothing etc.. etc.. that available in every corner of the country.

btw There are some interesting arguments over on the spruiked blog from a legal perspective.

H. Nizam said...


Not easy to say that Armani is infringing Indonesia's Garuda emblem because the garuda that became our national emblem is a specific one :
yellow gold color, a shield with 5 symbols of Pancasila on its chest and legs standing on a stick that bear the moto: Bhineka Tunggal Ika (unity in diversity).

Some people are discussing legal grounds to suit Armani i.e. State Symbols Law and Trademark Law. In case of lawsuit they must convince the court that Armani's logo is similar or basically similar to Garuda.

However, growing public sentiments on this matter may influence Indonesian judges to pass verdict in favor of the lawsuit.

umihoney said...

Values differ everywhere.What may seem sacred to us may not be a big deal to others.I'm sure a discussion over this between the 2 parties would be more fruitful than a hostile approach in line with our culture that taught us to be courteous, diplomatic, genteel and polite yet firm in our belief (Bagai menarik rambut dari tepung,tepung tidak berserak rambut tidak putus)Moga sejahtera semuanya ya.

H. Nizam said...


I like your beautiful phrase:
" Bagai menarik rambut dari tepung, tepung tidak berserak rambut tidak putus ".
The best way is to handle this matter amicably.
Salam sejahtera juga untuk anda.

Yari NK said...

To tell the truth, I was a lot surprised to find out how a renowned world-class designer like this Giorgio Armani copied our coat of arms into his design on the shirt. Where is the originality of his work on the shirt?

However, we should not be furious too much since overreaction will likely give ourselves a bad name. It is Signore Armani that has to learn to respect the values adopted by other societies if his own values are to be respected. This issue is actually his own problem.

I myself choose to be indifferent to this issue in that whatever Signore Armani has done so far, either with or without the Garuda Pancasila shirt, is not paramount for our country! :D

H. Nizam said...


Yes our country has a lot much important matters which should be taken care of.

Especially that Armani's mistake is unclear. If we insist on suing them it would only make Armani become much more popular than it is now.

It would be different if Armani's logo has the Garuda Pancasila's specific elements.