Two days after Nike Inc. filed suit against his namesake brand, Warren Lotas is speaking out to defend his products.
The designer took to Instagram today and, in three consecutive posts to his “stories,” indicated that he plans to move forward with fulfilling orders for pairs of his brand’s sneakers that were mentioned in a Nike lawsuit for trademark infringement.
“As of now, both releases will be fulfilled as promised,” the first of Lotas’ posts stated. “We are currently investigating the claims made against us and will do what it takes to remedy the situation amicably. We are in the midst of an historic moment, something that will make these shoes feel like you’re wearing a trophy for small business, rather than the source of controversy.”
Beaverton, Ore.-based Nike on Wednesday filed suit against the Los Angeles-based brand and its founder for alleged trademark infringement, trademark dilution and unfair competition, among other counts. The complaint addressed several Warren Lotas releases — including the Warren Lotas X Staple Pigeon OG sneaker — which it said constitute “illegal fakes” of its Nike Dunk sneakers.
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In court documents obtained by FN, the Swoosh said its Dunk sneakers — especially limited-edition collaborations — “are coveted by sneakerheads throughout the world” and that its 2005 limited-edition Nike SB Dunk Low NYC Pigeon “sells for tens-of- thousands of dollars in the secondary sneaker market.”
Nike went on to accuse Warren Lotas of “promoting and selling” fraudulent versions of that 15-year-old release, pointing to the Warren Lotas X Staple Pigeon OG sneaker, which posted on WL’s Instagram account on Sept. 27 and is sold out, but trading on StockX for as much as $25,000.
“I firmly believe my intentions have been misconstrued,” Lotas wrote on Instagram today. “If you’ve followed my company since inception, I have always created things that didn’t exist in the marketplace, big or small. My shoe is something I’ve always wanted to see in my personal footwear rotation and to share with my small cult following.”
For its part, Nike claimed in the suit the WL’s recent releases have created “confusion in the marketplace regarding whether they are legitimate customizations or illegal fakes.”
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OFFICIAL @STAPLEPIGEON X WL REINTERPRETED OG SHOES ARE GONE – Thank you Jeff and Billy for giving me an opportunity to be a part of your legacy. Love me or hate me, I’m glad we can include so many more people in this moment. An official reinterpretation of a fucking CLASSIC! – PLEASE READ: We will leave the sneakers up for 15 MINUTES WITHOUT A SET QUANTITY. We want this shoe to be accessible to EVERYONE. EVERYONE THAT WANTS A PAIR WILL GET A PAIR. – THIS IS A PRE-ORDER THAT WILL TAKE 3-4 MONTHS TO PRODUCE. PLEASE REMEMBER THIS BEFORE YOU PURCHASE. IT IS A PRE-ORDER. THIS IS A WARREN LOTAS SHOE, IT IS PRODUCED FROM SCRATCH BY ME. PLEASE KNOW THAT. NO ALIBABA BULLSHIT. ITALIAN MATERIALS.
It added, “Warren Lotas intentionally created the confusion, and he is attempting to capitalize on it, by, among other things, using Nike’s registered DUNK word mark, using Nike’s registered Dunk trade dress, and using a mark that is confusingly similar to Nike’s famous Swoosh design to promote and sell his fakes.”
Lotas concluded his three-part Instagram statement by suggesting he would continue to support the Swoosh despite the legal dispute.
“Somewhere along the way, the community’s perception of me and my work got misconstrued…every drop was written off as a cash grab and no one could see or believe the fun I actually had as things got bigger,” he wrote. “Of course, this is what anyone would probably say when backed into a corner by a massive company they’ve grown up with and respect…but it is what I believe. I’ll still buy a new pair of Cortez every week. Regardless of the situation, the Fallas will prevail. Always.”
A spokesperson for Nike did not immediately respond to FN’s request for comment.
Although mentioned in the suit as a collaborator for the original edition Nike SB Dunk Low NYC Pigeon — as well as listed as a partner on Warren Lotas’ Instagram — Jeff Staple is not named by Nike as a party in the suit.