It seems whenever a celebrity launches a fashion brand, legal troubles loom not too far behind. Most recently, Beyonce has come under fire for the Dereon studded leggings she wore in her new advertising campaign. Madonna was slapped with a lawsuit over the rights to use the Material Girl name for her Junior's fashion line with daughter, Lourdes Leon.
Beyonce's legal troubles revolve around a pair of studded leggings, which the Topshop brand, E-Label, claim are mysteriously similar to their own design. About the studded leggings, E-label owner, Heba Hallgrimsdottir said: "This is naturally huge and I am still half in shock. I didn't [recognize] straight away that this was her own label: I just thought she was wearing our leggings. It is practically just copy/paste...I have only just heard about this and no decision has yet been taken. We need to inspect her brand's trousers closer because, according to law, it is not copied if a certain number of things have been changed from the original design" via The Fashion Bomb.
Here are the E-label leggings - do you think Dereon's version is a ripoff?
The lawsuit against Madonna comes courtesy of Apparel manufacturer, LA Triump, who claims that they have been using the "Material Girl" brand since 1997, saying "Our client and its predecessor have been continually selling similar clothes in similar retail outlets at similar price points under their Material Girl brand since at least 1997 and Madonna and her newfound company do not have the right to trade in the same space under this brand...[our client faces] a risk of being subsumed by Madonna's profile [and] obvious worldwide notoriety" via People.com.
I don't want to make light of the frustration one must feel when robbed of his/her original idea. We've seen designers like Alexander McQueen go head-to-head with brands like Steve Madden over this very principle.
But sometimes, you have to wonder if the "notoriety" that LA Triump cites, plays into the perpetual celebrity lawsuits. The line between a genuine pursuit of justice and a desire for fame and media coverage has become quite blurry.
In my humble and uninformed opinion (haven't heard from either Beyonce or Madonna's camp), studded leggings are not an original idea and 'Material Girl' was only one of Madonna's biggest hit songs from the '80's.
But I do understand the need for the legal system to protect small businesses against powerful, popular brands that can easily steal designs and titles from lesser-known companies if unchecked.
What are your thoughts? Do you think either lawsuit is legit? Are celebrities unfairly targeted because of their fame and notoriety? Discuss.