Jeffrey Campbell Sues Forever 21 Over ‘Knockoff’ Shoes
The Jeffrey Campbell footwear label has filed a trademark infringement suit against Forever 21 for allegedly copying six of its shoe styles, the Los Angeles Intellectual Property Trademark Attorney Blog reports.
In court papers filed in California on May 31, the Los Angeles-based brand charges that Forever 21 intentionally sold knockoffs of its 99 Boot, Cast Sandal, City Wrap Boot, Swansong Sandal, Alicia Fur Boot (above), and Splendid Sandal, therefore violating state and federal unfair competition laws.
Forever 21 has "a business model that ... focuses on selling knockoffs or cheaper copies of products designed by higher-end fashion companies," alleges Jeffrey Campbell, which is seeking a permanent injunction barring the retailer from selling the disputed designs, but has not yet specified an amount in monetary damages.
The lawsuit may come as no surprise to style bloggers, who have long compared the two labels. For example, Forever 21's Cheetah Wedge has a similar animal print and platform wedge heel to the Alicia Fur Boot (both shown above), while Campbell's Cast Sandal and Forever 21's Charon Knotted shoe both feature the same strappy design.
Forever 21, which is itself in the midst of a possible lawsuit against satirical blog WTForever21.com, has previously settled copyright infringement lawsuits filed by the likes of Diane von Furstenberg, Gwen Stefani, Trovata, and Anna Sui.
In a Los Angeles Times profile last year, Linda and Esther Chang, daughters of Forever 21's founders, commented on their brand's reputation for "design theft," calling it the "nature of fast-fashion."
"We are a retailer, and the majority of our merchandise is bought, not manufactured," Linda told the paper. "When you see our stores, there's fresh new merchandise every day. We're getting more proactive, but mistakes happen, and I think it comes up more for us because of our millions of styles."
Of course, there's a lot of gray area here. Jeffrey Campbell itself raised eyebrows after bloggers compared its Potion Buckle Ankle Boots to Chloë Sevigny for Opening Ceremony's Multi Buckle Wedge Booties.
Forever 21 and Jeffrey Campbell have yet to respond to our requests for comment.
In related news, see which retailer recently faced charges of copying a young jewelry designer.