Amidst all of the buzz in the closing days of New York’s Fall/Winter 2014 Fashion Week, one prominent U.S. label decided to show a little love for Belgium-based designer Bernhard Wilhelm; particularly, his work for Camper, the Spanish footwear brand. Camper footwear is a little-known-in-the-U.S. with a running collaboration with a handful of off-kilter designers, including one with Wilhelm. Since 2010, Camper has been producing Bernhard Wilhelm’s slightly outrageous Himalayan Boot, with its signature zigzag sole and cartoon laces. Last week, Marc by Marc Jacobs sent a similar version down the runway for its Fall/Winter 2014 ready-to-wear collection and one that also appeared in the corresponding mens lookbook (pictured below). Shortly thereafter, our friends over at Fashionista called copy.
So, did the Marc by Marc Jacobs design team copy Wilhelm for Camper? Maybe. Maybe not. After a bit of inspection, it seems that this may be one of those cases that falls more on the side of inspiration, as opposed to fast fashion-style imitation. The Marc by Marc Jacobs design team, which, as of this season, is under the direction of Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley, certainly recreated a similar sole, the most instantly recognizable aspect of the original, and the hightop shape and pull-tab on the back. However, they ditched the simple lines on the upper and the velcro strap in favor of a busier look. As a result, we wouldn’t be so quick to label Hillier and Bartley copy cats. If anything, we say this is an instance of one brand reinterpreting the design of another. Thoughts?