Kardashian’s Knock Off Coveted Clyde Bag

By Alison Parker

Reviewed by Jennifer Williams

If anyone knows high-end designer goods, it’s the Kardashian sisters…which is why it seems odd that their debut line, the Kardashian Kollection, would put out a handbag virtually identical to one made famous by luxury designer Monica Botkier. But Botkier isn’t passing blame on the style savvy sisters, she acknowledged that it’s possible the girls don’t even know about the infringing bag. Although that didn’t stop her lawyers from sending a cease and desist letter to Sears, the retailer who carries the Kardashian’s commodities in over 400 stores across the country. Sears made the right move and promptly removed the offending satchel from their site.

Botkier’s “Clyde” handbag, which retails for around $600, and the Kardashian’s bag, features the same slanted zippers and drawstring side ties. The Clyde satchel is made of supple, dreamy leather with fine stitching and shiny hardware; the Kardashian’s version is made of plastic-y leopard-print pleather and–well, enough said. Bags featured in the Kardashian Kollection range from $36 for a clutch to $94 for a convertible satchel.

The Clyde satchel is a trademarked design for Botkier. Designers often opt to trademark a design shape in their fashion lines to protect themselves against infringers. And there are infringers aplenty, knockoff bags seem to run rampant these days. The issue is so widespread, in fact, that the Council of Fashion Designers of America and E-Bay have started a campaign, “You Can’t Fake Fashion,” which targets designer counterfeits. Ironically for Botkier, she found out about the Kardashian’s transgressing tote just days after signing onto the group.

The task of combating counterfeit goods in fashion seems insurmountable. In Botkier’s situation, she, a smaller label, battled a major department store with power and financial resources incomparable to hers. Other designers, like Jay-Z, who recently sued the owner of Bargain Wholesaler and Top Brand Wholesalers for selling knockoff women’s tops and denim capris from his Rocawear line, challenge smaller, less menacing retailers. Meanwhile bigger names like Louis Vuitton and Chanel are left having to police the corners of Canal Street.

Perhaps we should try to capitalize on the Kardashian’s fame and use this handbag debacle to illuminate the pertinent social issues that surround knockoffs and the market for counterfeit fashion. The more people that are aware of these issues and how they affect the world around them, the better.

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