CREATIVE APPROPRIATIONS

NY Souvenir Company Sues Balenciaga Over ‘Ripped Off’ Tote Bag

A New York City souvenir company is suing luxury fashion house Balenciaga for allegedly ripping off one of its designs. City Merchandise, a company that has been on the souvenir circuit for 30 years, alleged in a lawsuit filed Friday that Balenciaga’s $1,950 New York Bazar Shopper bag is “virtually indistinguishable” from its own design. The bag, which debuted earlier this year, allegedly features the same “whimsical and appealing layouts and arrangements” and “skyline perspectives” as City Merchandise’s bag, which the lawsuit notes “could be purchased by a tourist at a Hudson News gift shop in JFK Airport for approximately $19.99.” The company is seeking injunctive relief, recovery of damages, Balenciaga’s profits and/or statutory damages, as well as attorney’s fees, according to Fashionista. The suit also claims Balenciaga’s creative director, Demna Gvasalia, has a well-documented history of stealing designs from more affordable designers, including IKEA and Ruff Ryder.