After KFG and Plada, Chinese lookalike sparks ‘disgust’

Chinese brand “Cherlss & Keich” has denied it was a copycat, after consumers complained of being tricked by its close resemblances with Singaporean fast-fashion brand Charles & Keith.

On the Twitter-like Weibo, some users said they shopped at stores that looked almost the same as Charles & Keith’s only to find the brand name on the products was spelled differently. 

The Cherlss & Keich brand is run by a leather product company in the southern city of Guangzhou. In photos posted on social media, the designs of its products, shopping bags and the storefronts all bear close resemblances to those of the Singaporean brand. 

But an employee at Cherlss & Keich denied the company had copied from the Singaporean brand.

“We are very different,” the man named Liu Yong told Inkstone on the phone. “There are many different letters in our logos.”

“The popular fashion products all have some similarities,” he said. “Armani and Gucci also have similarities. I can also say they [Charles & Keith] are similar to us.”

Liu said the Chinese brand now had close to 100 branches, and the company was looking to open more stores. 

However, some consumers who had bought from Cherlss & Keich said they were tricked. 

“I didn’t pay much attention when I bought it,” a Weibo user posted on December 11, along with photos of a silver purse printed with “Cherlss & Keich.” 

“When I took it out today and saw it, I felt really disgusted.”

Charles & Keith did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The Chinese government has pledged to enhance intellectual property protection and has cracked down on counterfeits. But foreign and local businesses have continued to face copycats in the country.

Charles & Keith, nicknamed “little CK” in China (the “big CK” being Calvin Klein), has more than 280 stores in mainland China, according to its website.

The company is just another name on a long list of major brands have had similar problems with knock-offs in China.

Shops of Loius Vuitton, Plada and KFG fried chicken have been found in the past, mostly in smaller cities where their big-name prototypes are not available. 

Many international brands have fought lengthy legal battles with Chinese companies that registered trademarks similar to their brand names.

According to the website of China’s Trademark Office, the Guangzhou company in April 2019 registered the brand “Cherlss&Keich.” The trademark covers products including wallets, handbags and suitcases.

In September and October 2018, the same company also applied to register the trademarks “Cherlss & Kecih,” “Charlss & Keich” as well as “Maitane Kalos.” Maitane Kalos is a British fast-fashion brand. 

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