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How the Fashion Industry Rips Off Independent Designers

January 12, 2018 in Blogs

By Emily C. Bell, AlterNet

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Small designers use social media to call out big brands.

As shoppers make 2018 wardrobe goals and begin perusing the post-holiday sales, keep in mind that some of the trendiest pieces are actually copies of other designers' work

While the environmental costs and human rights abuses of fast fashion are well-documented, another impact now cast to the forefront is the industry’s impact on small designers. Big brands, especially those in fast fashion, have been ripping off designs for years.

As founder of The Fashion Law blog Julie Zerbo explained, there are two traditional types of fast-fashion copying. In the first, “Fast fashion retailers tend to copy… big names, big design houses that we all know… they take designs that people know and so they would otherwise be interested in buying but can’t necessarily afford them.”

But beyond the flow of runway looks to chain store merchandise, there's another type of copying.

“The other one, and this is maybe the more unfortunate one, is when they copy independent designers or small designers, purely because they have less resources to spend on legal counsel than the big design houses that have lawyers on staff,” Zerbo said.

Last month saw yet another example in this latter category. Modcloth (now owned by Walmart) was condemned for selling a T-shirt featuring a feminist design without the permission of the artist, Deva Pardue. She took to Twitter to call them out:

The original print looks like …read more


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