Today Refinery29 informed us that Skechers is launching shoe collection named Bobs, and it looks identical to Toms footwear. And, for every pair of shoes purchased, Skechers will donate a pair of Bobs to a child in need. Wow, not only are they blatantly copying the simple silhouette and material fabrications, they are replicating Toms’ exact humanitarian effort and brand message.
After a little more digging, we learned that Skechers’ Bobs line is working with a great charity Sole 4 Souls (we’ve worked with them too). It’s an organization that distributes shoes to people in need in over 125 countries. We applaud companies who work with philanthropic causes, but as Amy Poehler would say… now REALLY? Was this the primary motivation or is a blatant rip off of Toms in order to try to take away market share? As Refinery29 eloquently asks, “When it comes to charity, do you subscribe to the belief that the more organizations out there, the merrier—or are they taking advantage of a profitable yet philanthropic business?”.
80%20 is no stranger to the shoe knock-off arena. Larger corporations knocking off designs by smaller, independent brands is a regular occurrence. That’s a sad but true fact. Imitation is the best form of flattery. However we feel Skechers has gone too far. Lawsuit anyone? We hope so.
Skechers is one of the biggest shoe companies in the world and has the power and resources to be truly original. Yet they seem to be most successful at copying others. The Bob’s line is a situation ripe for a legal action, and apparently Skechers is willing to gamble that game. Clearly originality is not something that Skechers values.
After discussing this topic here in the studio, we identified “Honoring Originality” as one of our core company and brand values.