The item in question at Forever 21 is a sweatshirt that reads "Hangry," surrounded by illustrations of various foods ... VERY similar to one of Bow & Drape's designs.
Aubrie Pagano, one of the NYC-based label's founders, spotted the Forever 21 sweatshirt while leaving her office in Soho.
"When I walked into the store to take a closer look at it, I immediately saw a folded pile of 'Hangry' sweatshirts," Pagano told Refinery29. "I did a double take because they took everything, from the phrase to the random assortment of bananas, doughnuts, tacos, and pizza."
Pagano instantly took a photo of the sweater and posted a side by side image of it by her Bow & Drape sweater on Instagram.
"Part of me is outraged, but part of me is like 'I think this means we've made it,'" Pagano captioned the post which shows how even the heart-shaped pepperoni slices on the pizza on the Bow & Drape version appear on the Forever 21 copy.
Bow & Drape's sweater launched in fall 2016 and retails for $59, whereas Forever 21's costs a mere $15.90. Unfortunately, as Refinery 29 points out, the Bow & Drape does not have a particular design copyright on the sweater.
"I feel powerless to address it; fast-fashion brands so rampantly [copy], especially from smaller labels that are without large copyright protection," Pagano said. "It seems there is little I can do; I hope I am wrong in this, but I am doubtful."
The label, who notes how fast-fashion brands like Forever 21 have shamelessly been "serious copycats," isn't the only brand to have had their designs copied by F21. Besides Emily Oberg's Sporty & Rich sweater becoming a victim to the brand's collection of stolen material this summer, in 2015, a B.C. clothing company was outraged when the style giant "blatantly copied" their sweater designs.
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
"This utter lack of respect has literally left us shaking our heads in disbelief," Richmond-based Granted Clothing said in a message.
And sadly, Forever 21 isn't the only retail giant stealing the works of up-and-coming designers. Zara has done it a lot, too.
Aurora James, the designer behind the 2015 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund-winning brand Brother Vellies, took to Instagram this past summer to reveal that Zara had obviously copied her designs, ripping off the brand's Black Magic Tufted Dhara Sandal.
Siiiiiiiggggggh, when will the copying end?
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