This article originally appeared on our sister site, StyleDemocracy.com.
Looks like Zara has done it again! When it comes to ripping off designs, the fast fashion retailer is a usual suspect, although this time is a little different. While they tend to copy looks fresh off the catwalks, Stephanie Drabik and Rose Chang, owners of Toronto boutique Cry Wolf, came forward claiming Zara ripped off the design of one of their lapel pins.
Chang told BuzzFeed that it isn’t the first time a major retailer has ripped them off and they only became aware after a friend of theirs pointed it out; evidently Zara’s stank was sniffed out. That being said since Cry Wolf is a small company. Chang explained that it’s really hard to know what to do, especially when they can’t afford legal representation.
Although the pins no longer seem to be for sale, Zara blatantly ignored any allegations but did respond to earlier accusations made by another indie designer, Los Angeles-based Tuesday Bassen of ShopTuesday. To Bassen, Zara’s response was… how do we put this? Lacklustre. Rude. Dismissive.
Their response highlighted the “lack of distinctiveness” in her designs which “makes it very hard to see how a significant part of the population anywhere in the world would associate the [designs] with Tuesday Bassen.”
We definitely think Zara is low-balling the impact of their actions, but to be fair they aren’t the only company out there doing it. Montreal-based Stay Home Club, founded by Olivia Mew, also saw a design copied by not only Zara but also clothing retailer, River Island. We also previously saw Forever21 copy a sweater created by Brian Hirano of Vancouver-based company Granted Clothing.
It begs the question, do the little guys stand a chance? Unfortunately, it seems like a long uphill battle. While Cry Wolf is not taking any legal action, Bassen says she does plan to further pursue her claim with Zara because of the “awful impact on the livelihood of an artist,” but proceeding with a lawyer is costing her out of her own pocket.
As of now, a spokesperson from Zara said, “Inditex respects any third party’s creativity and takes all claims concerning third party intellectual property rights very seriously…” Apparently, the relevant items under accusation have been suspended from sale and an investigation opened.
While this is a step in the right direction, we can’t predict what the outcome may be for Bassen or local Toronto designers Chang and Debrik. Going up against a global corporation ain’t no easy feat. Do we think Zara and other fast fashion companies will be repeat offenders? Probably. But hopefully with the support of fans and use of social media, more consumers won’t hesitate to call out huge retailers.
Do you think indie designers stand a chance against major conglomerates like Zara? Leave us your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.