Walker Wear, a New York-based streetwear brand of 30 years, is reportedly taking on Off-White in a new trademark-focused lawsuit.
According to the Fashion Law, the company filed a trademark infringement and dilution complaint after Off-White began to sell a $2,234 jacket featuring “a design nearly identical to Walker Wear’s storied WW XXL Athletic mark design.”
Walker Wear claims Off-White hasn’t pulled the piece despite customers having “mistaken Off-White’s jacket for [Walker Wear founder April Walker’s] work,” TFL reports, and claims that founder Virgil Abloh “chang[ed] others’ designs by only ‘three percent’ and then claim[ed] the design as his own.”
“Off-White and its founder, Virgil Abloh, have an unfortunate history of deriving from the creativity of other designers,” the publication says the suit claims, after it shared that larger companies have a history of “misappropriating the work of independent designers like [Walker] on the assumption that she and others like her will be unable to meaningfully challenge them in legal proceedings.”
The suit was reportedly filed against Off-White and retailers Farfetch and Saks Fifth Avenue on Aug. 20, and claims that Off-White jacked their WW XXL Athletic mark—containing two overlapping W’s—that they’ve been using since 1993. This comes months after Walker penned an essay about the incident. According to the suit, the looks have “become widely associated with Walker Wear and acquired substantial recognition, goodwill, and fame.”
“Given Ms. Walker’s iconic status in the streetwear fashion industry and Mr. Abloh’s knowledge of the industry, Off-White was almost certainly aware of the Mark prior to designing, producing, and selling the infringing jacket,” the suit claims.
The company is seeking monetary damages after claiming Off-White violated N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 349, preventing deceptive and misleading business practices. Walker reportedly sent a cease-and-desist letter to Off-White and Saks in June.