Earlier last month, Gucci filed lawsuits against Forever 21 for copyright infringement of the brand’s motifs. The dispute began more than half a year ago when Gucci demanded that Forever 21 pull any items with “any and all use of blue-red-blue stripes”, later following with cease and desist letters for their red-green stripes. Gucci described the designs as “confusingly similar” to clothes from their brand.
Items in question, such as the bomber jackets or the tiger embroidery stripe sweater definitely do show similarity in its aesthetic to Gucci, but Forever 21 didn’t give in. In response, they claim, “Gucci’s trademark registrations relevant to this dispute should be canceled. Gucci’s pending applications should not proceed to registration. This matter is ripe for a declaratory judgment.” They further claimed, “Forever 21 is not infringing any Gucci trademark.”
Almost half a year later, they added that “(Gucci) should not be allowed to claim that Gucci, alone, has a monopoly on all blue-red-blue and green-red-green striped clothing and accessory items… Any use of stripes or color bands on clothing sold by Forever 21 is ornamental, decorative and aesthetically functional.” In addition, Forever 21 counterclaimed that Gucci guilty of trademark litigation.
Gucci’s official response to Highsnobiety surrounding the lawsuit is as follows: “Gucci has today taken steps to finally put an end to U.S. mass retailer Forever 21’s blatant exploitation of Gucci’s famous and iconic blue-red-blue and green-red-green stripe webbing trademarks. In two filings today in the United States District Court, Central District of California, Gucci has asked the Court to dismiss the spurious claims that Forever 21 lodged on June 26, 2017, and has brought counterclaims against Forever 21 for willful trademark infringement, trademark dilution and unfair competition.
Forever 21 is used to lawsuits at this point. In 2016, they were accused of stealing Kanye’s Pablo aesthetic, the Thrasher logo and the then-Complex editorial producer and now-KITH women’s creative director Emily Oberg’s side-brand Sporty and Rich.
Unfortunately in the high-stakes world of fashion and design, imitation isn't necessarily the sincerest form of flattery.