New Balance Sues Karl Lagerfeld for Knocking Off Its Sneakers

You can blame normcore for this one.
Avatar:
Eliza Brooke
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
237
You can blame normcore for this one.
The alleged knockoff, top, and the original. Photo: Net-a-Porter and Asos.

The alleged knockoff, top, and the original. Photo: Net-a-Porter and Asos.

In all of the mania surrounding the rise of the "fashion sneaker" — be it a sparkly Chanel style or something a bit more normcore — somebody had to tiptoe a little too close for legal comfort to an existing shoe design. It looks like Karl Lagerfeld is that guy: New Balance is suing the designer for knocking off its signature sneaker in a style he created for his eponymous line. 

“On June 3, 2014, New Balance filed a lawsuit against Karl Lagerfeld to protect our intellectual property rights related to our iconic Lifestyle footwear designs. Although we cannot comment on the specifics of the case, we believe it is vital to actively and vigorously defend our brand,” a New Balance spokeswoman says.

The offending sneaker does bear a striking similarity to New Balance's shoes, from the line of its heel to the thick white synthetic sole — and most importantly, it's got that big ol' block letter K sewn onto the side. 

Of course, Lagerfeld's version retails for $360 at Net-a-Porter rather than $104 or less, so the customer overlap isn't enormous. But that's not really the point: The issue is more that his design may cause confusion among consumers, and according to TMZ, who has obtained a copy of the lawsuit, that's the basis on which New Balance is filing its claim.