Why its not cool to copy.
So once again, I’m compelled to write something that I’ve actually been thinking about for a while, but was really brought to my attention last night.
At about 1am my time, my old assistant sent me an email with this photo to show me that Forever21 had stolen my designs and are selling them in their stores for £3.50 ($5-$6).
This really sucks on all levels and I’m actually quiet upset about it. The thing with designs, especially clothing is that its really hard, if not impossible to patent/ copywriter and further more, being a small, independent, handmade designer, I just couldn’t afford to do this anyway.
And yes, I’ve seen various underwear designers copy aspects of my animal undies - there is a company out there who are printing on American Apparel undies and have the face and ears on the front. They do have the added bonus of being friends with a bunch of alt models with large social media followings, but they did at least have their own perspective of sorts on my idea and just the other day, I saw that a shop on Etsy was selling underwear with ears but no face. Good for these two companies, this is how trends work, I get it. But Forever21, have just blatantly ripped me off rather than putting their own twist on a trend.
I am a small indie designer, and everything is handmade - last year during the holidays, my Etsy shop became incredibly busy, so much so, I was able to employ 4 other people. This was really awesome and I payed well above the min wage, even though after I did my taxes, I didn’t actually make that much money, however, I would of just felt super crappy if I’d payed low wages or no wages. I’m pretty sure Forever21 don’t feel the same. Also, some people say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Its not. Right now, I’m looking into having my designs ethically manufactured, I want to offer a lower price point and I’d love to do wholesale, Forever 21 stealing my designs will probably have some affect on my ability to do this.
But back to copying. I see it all the time on Etsy, just because you think you can make something cheaper than another designer, doesn’t mean you should. Who knows how many harness bra’s there are on Etsy right now. Its craziness. There is plenty of room for everyone, but have your own point of view, do something new, something different, something more. This is the key to being successful, if you have something new and awesome to say, people will listen.
Again, thank you for listening to me. I hope in someway, I can get Forever21’s attention and perhaps they’ll remove my ripped of designs from their stores.
You can buy the originals here - www.knickerocker.etsy.com