One sportswear giant, the other master of tailoring. Adidas and Thom Browne have nothing in common, but if we stop and think for a moment, we discover that there is an element that binds them both. And now apparently this situation is becoming a problem.
According to The Fashion Law, the German brand is trying to sue the American designer for the misleading use of stripes. The latter in fact adopts them on most of his garments, almost inducing the customer to associate them with the Three Stripes. The dialogues between the lawyers of the two parties began as early as 2018, only to be suspended for a period. Until today. The Trefoil brand, aware of Thom Browne’s intention to expand into the athleisure sector, has begun to consider it a full-fledged competitor.
Another point of the controversy would concern the FC Barcelona off-field kits designed by Browne and decorated with the striped pattern.
However, it must be considered that the price range of the products of each is absolutely different, as well as the distribution methods. Anyway, the so-called 4-Bar Logo and the three equally spaced lines in the designer’s Red / White / Blue Grosgrain colorways can look similar to Adidas Three Stripes, which has invested decades and millions of euros in their claim of originality. Enough to take an average of five companies to court a year, from Forever 21 to Marc Jacobs.
As reported by Business of Fashion, from 2012 to today, the German brand’s lawsuits for plagiarism are about fifty. An average of about five a year. As stated in a 2017 Bloomberg article, the Adidas logo is so simple that any imitation, even unintentional, could damage the image. However, the brand does not have exclusive rights on all strips, but only on their specific use. In the case of Browne, for example, the Adidas trademarks on the stripes on the sleeves of jackets and athletic garments, actually very similar, could come into play.