Virtually every week there’s a story about fast fashion megachains like H&M or Zara knocking off high end stuff that few can afford: in which case you get a kind of democratizing of fashion that isn’t necessarily good, but at least understandable. Occasionally, however, the opposite will happen.

Lost Art is an indie leather goods company beloved by rockstars like Lenny Kravitz and Steven Tyler. Its founder, Jordan Betten, first noticed some striking similarities between his own designs and current Cavalli pieces when friends contacted him, having seen images of the Cavalli collection and curious if there’d been a collaboration. As you can see in the image above, Lost Art’s white, fringed, woven leather jacket (from Spring 2009) looks quite a bit like Cavalli’s suede version as seen in a current Bullet editorial on Alek Wek (you can get a better glimpse of the jacket as it appears on Lost Art’s website).

We asked Jordan what he thought of the possible plagiarism and he told us:

“I take it as a huge compliment that such an industry leader as Mr. Cavalli would be so inspired by Lost Art’s style.  It would be my pleasure to have the opportunity to meet Mr. Cavalli and create a mutually beneficial relationship.  I have many more ideas to offer him than just the images from my website.”

We’re still split on whether or not this is a straight-up knock-off: after all, the house of Cavalli is nearly as synonymous with fringe as it is with animal print.

…At the same time, seeing the two woven, white, fringed, ab-revealing jackets side by side, it’s tempting to say they’re not very different.

(Via Lost Art, but you can see more alleged lookalikes at I Mean What)