Proenza Schouler‘s PS1 bag is one of the most covetable accessories to have debuted in recent years. We’d venture to say it’s made it past “It Bag” status and is on its way to becoming a full-fledged classic. Unfortunately, as with any iconic design, knockoffs are inevitable. Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez just never thought a company they’ve collaborated with would be the culprit.
For the past few weeks, blogs have been abuzz about a bag sold under Target‘s private Mossimo label that bears an uncanny resemblance to the PS1. As Cathy Horyn describes, the similarities are pretty obvious: “The PS1, which Proenza brought out two years ago after a fair amount of research and development, has a V-shaped front flap cross-sectioned with trim detail to suggest a square; so does the Mossimo. And the straps that run over the front of the PS1 are tucked into small flat loops free of hardware; ditto the Mossimo.”
One thing that isn’t the same? The price. The Mossimo bag retails for $34.99, while a comparably-sized medium PS1 will set you back $1,595. Knockoffs are always upsetting, but this particular instance is pretty surprising considering Target’s tie to the brand. Not only did Proenza produce a GO International collection for Target, two of their dresses made it into the greatest hits GO International Designer Collective that’s currently in stores. Explains Proenza CEO Shirley Cook: “So our product is in Target right now, and then this bag comes out. It’s just disappointing, especially from someone we worked with.”
And what do the designers themselves think? Hernandez noted that Target seems to have gotten the bag’s attitude just right, while McCollough expressed his desire for the mass retailer to stop selling it. When Horyn reached out to Target, they didn’t seem to acknowledge the similarities: “It always has been and continues to be the policy of Target to respect the intellectual property rights of others” Sigh.
With the New York Times firmly on Proenza’s side, we wonder if Target will feel the heat and pull the bags. Check out the side-by-side below. Do you think Proenza has a case?
UPDATE: A PS1-toting friend of ours just alerted us to the fact that Mulberry also sells a bag that is shockingly similar to the PS1. While not as egregious a copy as the Target bag, it has its familiar shape, long shoulder strap, top handle, pointed flap and parallel front straps. The design does draw from Mulberry’s archives, but the end result still feels uncomfortably close to the PS1.
We have to imagine there are plenty of other examples out there. Know of any? Tell us in the comments!