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

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • cindy


  • Something as ugly as this can happen when you try to rip off a mediocre, overpriced model from the start. The fabric belt looks so cheap, and it is very $1000!

  • cindy


  • Silversun

    The main thing that makes it a ripoff in my book is that the Kooba flap detail doesn’t even look like it’s functional in any way. It’s just an extra piece of leather seemingly added for the express purpose of trying to look like Hardy. I also don’t like how it mimics the triangles at the ends of the closure strap. The execution is just different enough to be not an exact copy, but the spirit of the design looks like it’s wholly lifted from Hardy.

    • gpc

      there is a pocket underneath the flap on the kooba, which in my opinion, makes it more functional than the pierre hardy…

      • Silversun

        Apologies, I didn’t realise there was a pocket. Still, I’m not enamoured with it.

  • elegant tomato

    I prefer the Kooba version, because to be honest, color blocking is SOOOO over.

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