The line between inspiration and imitation is wafer thin in the fashion industry. Any time we post something about a bag that looks like another bag, no matter whether the post is positive or negative, a whole host of people chime in to both agree and disagree in seemingly equal measures (and with plenty of enthusiasm for their points of view). Naturally, you guys were the first people I thought of when I laid eyes on the Kooba Grove Lambskin Messenger – is it an homage to Pierre Hardy’s signature trim and closure, as you can see on the Pierre Hardy Colorblock Leather Shoulder Bag, or is it a ripoff? Let’s examine the evidence after the jump.
Hardy’s trim has been his principle branding route for quite some time. People in the accessories industry, particularly designers, would certainly know about a cult favorite like him. It can’t be a coincidence, but does it cross the line into something insulting? If I were just scrolling through pictures of bags with no identifying information, I would certainly assume that this was on of Hardy’s bags, although on side-by-side comparison, Hardy’s trim is flatter and he clearly prefers right angles. Kooba has a pretty good track record of doing its own thing and not piggybacking too heavily on others’ work, and imitating a Pierre Hardy bag in and of itself probably wouldn’t pay many dividends – his bags are not instant sell-outs and there’s not much of a market for replicas. The most likely explanation is probably a corner-cutting designer who likes Hardy’s work, which is not too sinister. Still, it might qualify as a ripoff: what do you think?
Kooba Grove Lambskin Messenger, $498 via Neiman Marcus
Pierre Hardy Colorblock Leather Shoulder Bag, $1055 via Net-a-Porter