…they persuade Cathy Horyn to blog in the New York Times today about a Target handbag, the Mossimo Messenger, that’s very similar to their own PS1 bag. For her piece, Horyn spoke to Jack McMcCollough, Lazaro Hernandez and chief executive Shirley Cooke. The three went into technical detail about the apparent appropriation and expressed their disappointment. Then today we got an email from Proenza Schouler’s PR linking to the blog and taking the opportunity to call Target’s version a “blatant” reproduction.
Normally we’d shrug and ask the following questions to no one in particular: Hasn’t PS1 been copied many times before? Doesn’t this happen on a near-daily basis to designers all around the world? Isn’t the messenger style already very common? When the fashion industry at large embraces the fast-fashion phenomenon, isn’t copying the logical, foreseeable result? What about the theory that a design “influenced” (a nice word for copying) by another design still creates demand for the original product?
Here’s the difference. Proenza Schouler has collaborated with Target on a Go International collection. That was several years ago, and now it’s back on the floor, just a bag’s throw from the alleged copy. A Target spokesman defends the bag in question by telling Horyn, “Target is committed to offering our guests everyday essentials alongside highly differentiated merchandise, all at a great value. It always has been and continues to be the policy of Target to respect the intellectual property rights of others.”
What do you think? Has Target stooped to the level of shady Canal St. knock-offs? Or is it being unfairly targeted for merely practicing the business model that has made it so celebrated, in step with all the other fast-fashion and semi-fast retailers? Comment below…