Nope, that’s not a Louis Vuitton sneaker; it’s the work of Atlanta-based LVL XIII (pronounced “level thirteen”). Its founder, Antonio Brown, has slammed the luxury brand, a part of the LVMH conglomerate, with a lawsuit. The alleged transgression? Louis Vuitton’s recent sneakers include a metal plate affixed to the toe—a detail for which Brown had a pending trademark, much like the protected red soles on Christian Louboutin shoes. Brown’s designs are made with extravagant materials like stingray (pictured) and pony hair, and have been seen on the likes of Chris Brown and Jason Derulo. But in spite of the lawsuit—a pre-trial date is set for this month—Brown is working on his next collection, which will include loafers and driving mocs in addition to sneaks, plus smaller sizes for women and the debut of his apparel.
This article originally appeared in our November 2014 issue.