Not only is Steve Madden knocking off Isabel Marant, the notorious design pirate beat the French designer to stores. Case in point: the Marant Willow sneaker, which debuted several seasons ago, and has amassed a cult following, leading to its "sold out" status on nearly every site, including Net-a-Porter.
For Fall 2012, Isabel Marant is reintroducing the wedge sneaker in several new colors. The gold Willow sneaker is slated to be one of the most coveted and apparently, Steve Madden wants in on the action. Madden has been selling a nearly identical version in its stores since the end of May. Its luxury counterpart, the gold Marant Willow sneaker, is not yet available. Isabel Marant fans can pre-order the new Fall/Winter 2012 Willow sneakers now, but the first shipments are not expected until July. This gives Madden a significant advantage in terms of timing (and price).
This is the essence fast-fashion. Runway to store in a flash - long before the legitimate designer. Marat has a disadvantage when it comes to speed, as the brand carefully manufactures its shoes in France, whereas Madden (and other fast-fashion labels) manufactures knockoffs in factories with questionable labor standards in a fraction of the time.
This would not be Madden's first knockoff. You may recall that Balenciaga took the company to court in 2009 for copying its "LEGO" heels and its Open Toe Lace Up Leather Boots. Alexander McQueen took the fast-fashion shoemaker to court in 2010 for knocking off its Faithful bootie, and the list goes on.