Did Balenciaga completely rip off a trashy tourist shop?
The designer is being sued for copyright infringement
While copycat fashion is nothing new on the runway, perhaps ripping off a tacky tourist shop is a high-fashion first. The designer label Balenciaga is officially being sued for copyright infringement for the line of hot pink New York City clothes and accessories.
The souvenir retailer, City Merchandise Inc., is alleging that Balenciaga's designs are “virtually indistinguishable” to the ones that can be found at nearly every tourist shop in Times Square. While the plaintiff's bags are priced between $5.99 and $19.99, Balenciaga's work runs for roughly $2,000 more—fashion disaster.
A New York souvenir company sued Balenciaga for copyright infrigement in the Southern District of New York. City Merchandise claimed that Balenciaga's "Multicoloured New York Bazar Shopper" tote is a copy of their souvenir bag.#fashionlaw pic.twitter.com/N6xiUF5Mez— FashionLawInstitute (@FashionLaw_Inst) July 30, 2018
Edward Toptani, the lead attorney for City Merchandise, told Nylon that his client has tried to work with the brand, but is left with no other option but to sue. “Balenciaga’s outside counsel contacted me in response to a demand letter that was sent to the company. At the time, I was advised that my client’s claims would be reviewed and a response would be forthcoming. Thereafter, two weeks passed with no further communication from their attorney. As such, it appeared that Balenciaga was needlessly delaying and my client instructed me to commence the lawsuit,” Toptani said.
Balenciaga has yet to offer an official statement regarding the lawsuit.