Valentino v. Sam Edelman

The other day I was browsing the evening gown section of Nordstrom when I noticed something peculiar: a T-strap pump with studs on the straps and a pointy toe. Immediately, I thought “Valentino!!” because the fashion house’s latest it-shoe is the ‘Rockstud’ collection which is becoming incredibly popular and rather recognizable. The collection features shoes in various styles, from pumps to flats to sandals, adorned with studs, as shown below. 

valentino rockstud

                                                          Valentino ‘Rockstud’ shoes, via  Nordstrom

Instead, the studs on the pump looked more dull and the leather did not look as sumptuous as the Valentinos. And, as I came closer to the shoe, I realized why. The shoe before me was not the Valentino Rockstud pump, but rather the Sam Edelman ‘Ollie’ T-strap pump, as shown below.

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                                                         Sam Edelman ‘Ollie’ Pump, via Nordstrom

Because I am always thinking with a legal mind, I immediately began to wonder about the Intellectual Property implications of what I was seeing, especially since there isn’t much copyright protection for fashion designers. It’s not uncommon for high end collections, such as Valentino, to be used as “inspiration” for labels that are more affordable. The Valentino pump sells for $945, while the Sam Edelman sells for $130.95.

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