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Five Fashion Fails: Lawsuits filed against fakes

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Real sues the fakes

It’s nothing new that the high-street takes inspiration from luxury designer houses. But when they go too far, the fakes can be sure there’s a copyright violation lawsuit coming after them for a BIG sum of money…

We all love a designer piece, (whether you’re aware of it or not, as these cases will prove) but we love getting value for money too. That’s why we like ‘dupes’ (duplicates) at a price that’s easier on your purse. But, sometimes these cheaper brands cross the line and go from selling pieces that are inspired by a design to completely copying it down to a tee to the point of becoming fakes.

So, when does a ‘dupe’ just become a ‘fake’?

Calling it a fake is more incriminating, but this is essentially what a lot of high-street retails are producing now: fakes and knock-offs. Oh yeah, I said it!!!

Some lawsuits against fakes in the last few years

Number one - Aquazzura sues Ivanka Trump and Steve Madden

Aquazzura sues Ivanka Trump and Steve Madden

Aquazzura’s ‘Wild Thing’ heel was the ‘it’ shoe to have. But as soon as it gained popularity, it gained a lot of copycats too. As we all know by now, the Trumps have no shame and think everything is their god-given right. So, why should a shoe design be any different? Caring is sharing after all! Ivanka couldn’t even be bothered to change one thing about this shoe!

Read more about the Aquazzura vs. Trump here

It appears Steve Madden didn’t learn from other’s mistakes and (stupidly) tried copying the EXACT SAME SHOE right after Aquazzura sued Ivanka Trump! Facepalm.

Read more about Aquazzura vs. Steve Madden

Number two: Gucci sues Forever 21Gucci sues Forever 21

Trends fade. Most of us don’t want to spend thousands on something that’ll last just one season. That’s why I started my designer inspiration series: getting designer style on the high-street including how to get the Gucci look. Right now, Gucci is in the spotlight, so naturally, brands have been emulating the Italian designer.Fashion lawsuits against fakes: Gucci sues Forever 21 -Gucci jersey trousers - £1300 compared to red Forever 21 trousers £19But, Forever 21, being Forever 21, decided it wasn’t enough to create something similar and went all out copying THREE items exactly, including a butterfly knit top, stripe trousers and a silver leather bomber jacket. So, do these Forever 21 pieces fall under the ‘fake’ category rather than ‘inspired by’? Gucci seemed to think so, and took their arses to court.
The offending Forever 21 bomber is not available anymore, but they certainly haven’t learnt their lesson  – this other Forever 21 bomber is such a Gucci rip-off!

Read more about Gucci vs. Forever 21.

Read the Style Inspiration: Gucci post here

Number Three: Puma VS. Topshop and Forever 21

Puma sues Topshop and Forever 21

Slides have been a big trend this year, partly due to miss Rihanna and her Fenty x Puma slides (much to some people’s dismay).

And because everyone’s coveting the ‘I left the house in a rush and forgot to take my slippers off’ look (I’m a fan of that – all about the comfort), of course, hundreds of high-street shops started to rip-off the Puma slides, including, Stradavarius, Steve Madden, Topshop and Forever 21.

Yet Puma has chosen to take the last two retailers to court over it. Forever 21 isn’t fazed at all – having been juggling 50 accusations of copyright violations from designers such as Diane von Fürstenberg, Anna Sui, and of course Gucci as already mentioned in this list.

Surprisingly, the offending Topshop slides are still available! (Confused as to why…) See how identical they are:

Read more about Puma vs Topshop here

Number Four - Balenciaga sues Steve Madden

Balenciaga sues Steve Madden

This is the third time Steve Madden appears on this list – they just won’t quit! This time they faced Balenciaga’s lawyers (it was actually the SECOND time Balcienaga took Steve Madden to court).

Their ‘Btalia’ bag was a rip-off of Balenciaga’s motorcycle bag:

Comparison photo of Balenciaga motorcycle city bag and Steve Madden Btalia bag

“Madden’s Btalia bag, which retails for under $90, is a “studied copy” of Balenciaga’s Motorcycle bag, the label claims, and has several key features that are likely to cause confusion for consumers.”


Read more about Balenciaga vs. Steve Madden

Number five: Fashion fake lawsuits: Chanel against AmazonChanel sues Amazon

In June this year, Chanel won a legal battle with Amazon over fake Chanel bags being sold through Amazon sellers. Chanel received $3million in damages from over 30 of Amazon’s sellers.

There are so much Chanel fakes floating around, like the one pictured above, but when you’re selling replicas through a global brand like Amazon – Chanel can come for you.

One seller tried to get out of it by saying they had ‘mistakenly’ uploaded the listing of the fake bag… er yeah sure you did! 😂

“Infringement cases like this, however, generally are not about collecting damages, but more about protecting a brand’s image and controlling access to goods, especially for luxury power players like Chanel.”

Read more about Chanel vs. Amazon

Fashion against fakes: Number five: Chanel sues amazonWoman sues Zara and a mouse!

Okay, so this lawsuit doesn’t have anything to do with fakes, but it was too funny/horrifying not to include, so I added it in as a bonus!

If you don’t want a tainted image of Zara, or you don’t like dead rodents, stop reading!

There’s not much to explain here, so, in short: a woman bought a dress from Zara and after having worn it for a whole day at work, she found a DEAD MOUSE SEWN INTO THE SEAM! WTF!

“I froze – I was paralysed with fear,” Ms Fiesel told the newspaper. “I was in complete shock. My eyes saw that it was a mouse but my brain told myself it can’t be,” she said.

In her legal documents, the 24-year-old is says that she developed a large rash that was diagnosed as a “rodent-born disease” and has suffered emotional dress.

The Independent

Next time you pop into Zara, just remember to check your item for extra fur that shouldn’t be there!

Read more about woman vs Zara here

So, it turns out that those bargain knock-offs we get on the high-street are not such a bargain for the companies when they get caught out and have to pay millions in damages.

Will it deter replicas in the future? Not likely. Considering Forever 21 has already received over 50 injuctions from various designers!

Are you glad retailers like Forever 21 and Topshop have to pay the price of fakes? Do you think they should stop stealing designs or does it not matter to us as long as we get a bargain?

I’d be interested to know what you think in the comments!


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  • Dominique
    September 18, 2017

    Ok that last story of the dead mouse is just horrible. Horrible, horrible, horrible shiffers I think this is such an interesting topic and I find myself arguing for both sides (agreeing and disagreeing with these practices). Mmmm… mmmm…. Some time ago I actually considered writing a blogpost about fakes/duplicates within the fashion industry after a visit to the depot of the Museum of Bags and Purses and discussing the ‘importance’ of a fake Chanel bag -which they bought as real but was later discredited- as a ‘historical object’ for the label-crazed/copying-phase (fast) fashion is going through since late 20th century (and how in this instance the fake Chanel bag isn’t actually THAT bad as it can be seen as an artifact that otherwise wouldn’t have made it into the collection at all and in some way misrepresenting the history of bags and purses; so an unlucky happy coincidence, I guess (although they still wished it was a real one…)). 😉


    • Hannah | Admin
      September 29, 2017

      The dead mouse is horrific! Can you imagine wearing that around for a whole day and getting a rash from it?! Gross!
      I know what you mean… I think it’s difficult to tell when the line is being crossed. You should definitely write a post about it too – I’d be really interested in hearing more about the ‘importance’ of a fake Chanel!
      It must have been a really good quality fake to make it into a museum… I guess I wonder… with fakes, where is your money going? Drug lords? Arms-dealers? You never know!

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