Karl Lagerfeld should probably know better than this, shouldn’t he? In a lawsuit obtained by TMZ, New Balance is reportedly suing the legendary designer for ripping off its trademark sneaker for his own namesake line—and, well, we kind of understand their issues.
The sneaker company states that aside from the block-style "K" on Lagerfeld’s design, the two shoes are otherwise identical. After all, New Balance’s signature 574 sneakers, shown above, have featured this exact design since the 1970s. The only major difference we spot is the price, with the Lagerfeld version retailing for $360 and the New Balances going for $112.
It’s not like we want to hate on the Kaiser, of course, but the similarities are difficult to ignore completely—especially when a flurry of fashion blogs are smelling something fishy. One fashion site in particular even picked up on the copycat sneaks before TMZ, having published a story called, "Wait, Did Karl Lagerfeld Just Knock Off New Balance Sneakers?"
Despite New Balance’s iconic design, the fashion industry has had a long, tricky history of proving trademark infringement. In April 2011, Christian Louboutin sued Yves Saint Laurent for using red soles on the bottom of its monochromatic red pumps. If you’ll remember, that lawsuit was unable to gain traction based on the questionable legitimacy of such a trademark; the whole court battle didn’t get resolved until October 2012, when YSL finally dropped the case.
Could New Balance and Lagerfeld be headed down the same path?