UPDATE - Apr. 30, 2015: A lawyer representing Granted Clothing says the B.C. company and Forever 21 have resolved the matter on "amicable terms," settling out of court.
A B.C. clothing company is outraged at style giant Forever 21 for what it says are "blatant copies" of its sweater designs.
"This utter lack of respect has literally left us shaking our heads in disbelief," Granted wrote, along with a comparison image showing the similarities between the two designs (see below).
"On the left are imitations of our designs and on the right are our original designs made here in our Vancouver design studio. They are blatant copies of our designs, right down to the colours used."
A short message from the designers: As independent business owners and designers of our garments we feel it is important to inform you of an unfortunate and ongoing problem in our industry. This utter lack of respect has literally left us shaking our heads in disbelief. On the left are imitations of our designs and on the right are our original designs made here in our Vancouver design studio. They are blatant copies of our designs, right down to the colours used. Local brands like us work day in and day out to create and sustain something unique and original only to find our designs taken and used without consent. We are not the only ones being exploited by large companies who clearly have no business morals. @forever21 The pressure to feed this trending "fast fashion" machine is pervasive and people are contracted by these big companies to scour the internet to find original designs without any regard, make a profit and offer no compensation to the original designers. They do not see the negative ripple effect they cause, only looking at short term profits and do not value a sustainable business structure. This tarnishes the original brand and identity which sometimes takes years or decades to create. Our company has managed to overcome many obstacles and will continue to move forward. In order to help us take a stand we ask that you share this with your friends and always be aware of your future purchases. Thank you for your continued support. +The Granted Family+ #forever21 #copy #badbusinessmorals #supportlocalbusinesses
"Local brands like us work day in and day out to create and sustain something unique and original only to find our designs taken and used without consent," the post continued. "We are not the only ones being exploited by large companies who clearly have no business morals."
A family shop established in 1978, Granted produces hand-knit wool products; adult sweaters sell in the $250 to $400 range. Forever 21's acrylic version is priced at $47.90, according to Global News.
Granted Clothing's Brian Hirano told The Vancouver Sun that they are still trying to figure out how to deal with the situation.
“We would like to see something positive come out of it. Maybe an apology from a big company, but I’m not exactly sure what’s going to happen,” he told the newspaper.
And while Granted is undoubtedly the David to Forever 21's Goliath, the small B.C. company has been garnering some big-name support on social media.
Comedian Wyatt Cenac showed his dismay over the similarities, matching Forever 21's image with one of him in what he seems to indicate is a Granted sweater.
Apparently he likes them a lot.
Questlove of R&B staple The Roots joined in the conversation:
As did "Last Week Tonight With John Oliver" writer Josh Gondelman.
And "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" talent coordinator Beth Shorr.
Forever 21 has been sued over 50 times for allegedly copying the designs of other companies, according to a 2011 Jezebel article, although the retailer has never lost any of the cases in court.
Forever 21 did not respond to HuffPost B.C.'s request for comment on Wednesday.
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