Sneakers
From the ground up
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They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, but when it’s a company owned by the richest man in Europe, and which has copied something specifically to make even more money, it’s hard to imagine anybody blushing. Amancio Ortega’s ZARA is up to its old tricks again.

Fresh off the back of plagiarizing both YEEZY Season 2 (see comparisons here) and artist Tuesday Bassen (read our op-ed here), the Spanish retail giant has launched a number of sneakers on its web store that bare more-than-striking resemblances to other popular kicks.

The worst culprit is undoubtedly this NMD_R1 ripoff. It comes in dark grey, the BOOST-like sole (which also looks a lot like the Three Stripes’s Futurecraft) is there, the red and blue details are there — the only real changes are the weird laces taken straight from your dad’s boat shoes, and that monstrosity of a tongue. Swipe or click below to see a comparison.

There’s also a pair of Raf Stans in metallic gold, albeit with a slightly more subtle plagiarism at work. The gold laces and outsoles are replaced with thick, garish white ones, but the iconic tennis shoe design is pretty much the same. Again, check out a comparison below.

That’s not all. If you scroll slightly further down the brand’s sneaker page, you’ll spot these “BLACK GEOMETRIC HIGH-TOP SNEAKERS.” They look familiar because the design is almost exactly the same at the NMD City Sock, most strikingly the adidas x White Mountaineering iteration. See below.

It’s easy to say, “So what? High street fashion brands have always copied the latest trends, and will probably always do so,” but the point is that ZARA gets caught out not just borrowing and modifying ideas, but outright stealing them. Worse still, ZARA actually makes a point of flattening anybody who does the same to them, whether intentionally or not.

As Highsnobiety features editor Alec Banks points out, in April 2016 the brand threatened to sue the owner of a small, UK-based business called Zara Countrywear. Owner Donna Dobson, who named her label after her newborn daughter, was forced to rebrand her business as Fox & Field and cover $1,200 USD worth of ZARA’s legal fees.

The only good thing to come out of all this is that many luxury houses are now contemplating a new “see now, buy now” model of selling. The traditional model, in which goods aren’t available until six months after they’ve first been shown, allowed brands like ZARA, who are capable of churning out products in just two weeks, the first bite at the cherry.

If you’re not still not convinced, here are more reasons why you should boycott ZARA.

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