ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but is it also infringement?
That is the claim Gucci is making against Forever 21 over some suspiciously similar stripes, CBS2’s Meg Baker reports.
International fashion house Gucci is an established high-end, driving sales with its iconic stripes for more than half a century – the blue, red, blue and green, red, green.
Fast fashion designer Forever 21 has similar designs, offering the look for less.
In June, Forever 21 preemptively sued Gucci to protect itself, starting a fashion fight. Now, Gucci is accusing Forever 21 of copying its trademark.
“Gucci’s brand value gets diluted. Items like this hurt the bottom line, because there’s market substitution,” Director of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham University Susan Scafidi said. “People trade down or fail to buy the original.”
The Gucci bomber jacket retails for $3,400, while a very similar Forever 21 jacket sells for $27.90
That’s why a shopper at Jersey Gardens told CBS2’s Meg Baker the retailers are not competitors – they attract totally different customers with different sized wallets.
“No, that’s ridiculous. I wouldn’t spend $3,000 when I can get a replica for 22.90,” she said.
“Forever 21 is focused on the stripes and claim that they used blue, red, blue stripes randomly. Gucci would like the court to look at this and say, ‘Oh no, that wasn’t random. You’re copying the entire Gucci product and attempting to convince the consumer to think about Gucci when it’s really just Forever 21,’” Scafidi said.
“At the end of the day, Gucci is top of the line. That’s the original,” another shopper said.
In a statement to CBS News, Forever 21 called Gucci’s claim false and said, “clothes with this same, common stripe design have been sold for many years by many different brands and remain widely available today.”
Legal experts say stripes can be trademarked when consumers recognize a certain striped pattern.