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Parallel Lines

If adidas were a gambler, the federal district court in Portland would be its favorite slot machine.  After winning a USD $305 million award against Payless for infringement of the famous three-stripe trademark back in May, adidas carried on with a lawsuit against Wal-Mart.  The parties settled in late August, and now WWD's Matthew Lynch reports that adidas is back again, this time with another chapter in its long-running battle against Target

While adidas' complaint against Target is not yet publicly available, several of the athletic shoes on the chain's website incorporate parallel stripes into the designs.

 Target's bold stripes

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Meanwhile, Asics has claimed that its curved and criss-crossed stripes have been copied on athletic shoes from Dolce & Gabbana's D&G label.  Perhaps Asics should think about raising its prices to match?

 Asics Revolve USD $64 (left) and D&G $219

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And while all these lines converge in court, freelance journalist Kate Hahn has actually succeeded in creating a successful parody of the problem.  As anyone who has ever seen Robert Altman's film Prêt-à-Porter can attest, it is notoriously difficult to make fun of fashion.  The reality is already so far out there that attempts at humor tend to fall flat. 

Not so with Kate's Forgotten Fashion: An Illustrated Faux History of Outrageous Trends and Their Untimely DemiseAmong her pseudo-historical vignettes is the rise and fall of the "Adididas" brand, a counterfeit label of such extremely unpredictable -- but uniformly poor -- quality that it is said to have inspired destruction competitions among student backpackers.  You won't want to miss this tale of peeling stripes and exploding shoes, or the irony of the fakes' fall from favor once their quality improved and they actually began to resemble the real thing. 

 Illustration by Amelia Haviland

Kudos to Kate for creating, along with Andrae Gonzalo and other illustrious illustrators, a series of amusing stories that will smooth the frown lines of even the most imperious fashionista.  It's like Botox in book form -- only better.