Looks like China’s beaten Kanye West to it.
An unofficial Yeezy store has opened in the Chinese city of Wenzhou — and it’s filled with knockoffs.
The store’s clearly not afraid about trademark violations, and is proudly displaying the word Yeezy in bold on its storefront, according to multiple social media posts from passers-by.
Not going to lie, the inside looks like a pretty nice sneaker shop:
But to us, the best part of the store is its neighbour, New Bunren:
The fake Yeezys aren’t cheap
But the shoes don’t come at knock-off prices.
According to a report by China Network, the shoes sell for an average of $151 (999 yuan) — which is quite a lot to shell out for a fake.
A genuine Yeezy pair will set you back around $200, though resellers in the market are exploiting limited stock, and charging exorbitant prices into the thousands.
And the fakes aren’t even carbon copies.
The most glaring difference is that they carry the words “Yeezy” on them, instead of the trademark “SPLY”.
The store even offers personalised designs, allowing you to customise your “Yeezys” to any design of your liking.
According to China Network, the operation is not entirely shady — sort of.
The trademark to “Yeezy” was registered in 2013, by a Mr Hu, the owner of the store that the news outlet spoke to.
“Some time ago, the relevant authorities have ruled that the Yeezy trademark, which we registered with our company, is valid,” he told the China Network.
A representative at LegalHoop, a trademark registration firm, also confirmed to Mashable that the mark “Yeezy” had already been taken and registered in 2013 across several categories.
We’re unable to confirm if the Wenzhou Haifan Trading Company is actually the firm who opened the Yeezy store, but it’s a bit of a coincidence that the store also happens to be set up in — where else — Wenzhou.
Still, there’s hope for Kanye yet. He may still be able to contest the trademark.
Last year, China’s supreme court ruled in favour of U.S. basketball player Michael Jordan, after a Chinese sportswear company used his Chinese name for their products.
Qiaodan (Jordan’s name in Chinese) Sports said it had registered the name more than a decade ago, but Jordan’s lawyers successfully argued that they had used his name without his permission.
So who knows, perhaps it won’t be long before Kanye comes knocking on their door.