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We all know this by now fashion brands get inspiration from fellow designers—especially when a designCustomers are eager to spend their money to recreate the look, which has made it so popular. It’s fast-paced.fashion retailers are probably the biggest culprits of all when it comes to hopping on style trends. We can always count on them pushing out as many replicas possible to win big bucks.
Although copycat fashionIt makes it easier to keep our wardrobes updated, but it also makes it more difficult for original designers to make a profit from their creations. It is worse because the person who loses out on the money often has less exposure, power, and funds. For example: Fashion NovaA top fashion store that has continuously stolen from Black indie designers, has caused lesser-known designers to lose money and their claim to the designs they’ve worked tirelessly at for years.
A Sticky Situation
Fashion Nova found itself in serious trouble recently after an incident. designerAazhia named accused the store and Megan Thee Stallion stealing her work. Fashion Nova and Megan recently collaborated on a collection, and one of the dresses from the lineup, the Chase the Bag Shoulder Pad Mini Dress, strongly resembled (or, let’s be honest, was almost an exact copy of) Aazhia’s TLZ L’Femme Dress.
Aazhia wrote on an Instagram post, “IMA BREAK THIS DOWN REAL SIMPLE! MY DRESS WAS STOLEN AND USED IN THIS MEGAN X FN COLLAB! WAS I TOLD? NO! WAS I COMPENSATED? NO!” The rapper’s team had previously reached out to Aazhia, expressing their interest in one of her dresses for an event Megan was attending. She continues. ‘I’M VERY MUCH SO TAKEN BACK BY LACKING RESPECT FOR A BLACK WOMAN! WHILE THE TIRED NARRATIVE ABOUT BLACK WOMANS IS SO DISRESPECTED IS VERY WRONG, WE DO IT TO EACH OTHER!!”
In an interview with The Morning Hustle, Megan attempted to clear the air. She said: “A lot of times, people say that they talked to somebody from my team. I don’t know what year that was. I don’t know who . . . what are you talking about? And a lot of times, they won’t even bring me . . . they don’t tell me who they talking to.”She continued to deny the allegations and said, “I’ve probably never heard of you like I’ve never seen that dress before. But it’s been a dress that has been done a lot, like, over the years. So I feel bad that people’s initial reaction would be to just come at me like, ‘Oh, you a Black woman! You’re stealing from Black women!’ And I’m like, ‘Damn, hold on, sis, ‘cause, like, I don’t know you.’”
The points Megan attempted to make didn’t fall on deaf ears. Maybe her team didn’t tell her about the meeting with Aazhia, so she was unaware of the resemblance of Aazhia’s dress to hers from the collection. Also, it’s a bit touchy to accuse another Black woman of stealing to avoid perpetuating any stereotypes. However, if Megan’s team had researched Fashion Nova, they would’ve realized that it isn’t new news that Fashion Nova loves copying indie designers, especially Black women designers. Fashion Nova not only steals from indie designers but also ignores or blocks indie designers who attempt to address the issue.
Fashion Nova’s Ongoing Controversy
Luci Wilden, a crochet artist and founder of the Knots & Vibes brand, also suffered from Fashion Nova’s sticky fingers. In 2019, she caught Fashion Nova selling a knockoff of her dress, Skin Out Dress (released in 2017). Wilden called the company and was told that it was wholesale vendors. After directing her towards the PR department, Fashion Nova never called her again.
Another designer, Destiny Bleu, owner of d.bleu.dazzled, lost big after Fashion Nova and smaller boutiques copied her Midnight Sky Tights that featured her signature crystalized overlay. Each crystal is applied by hand. This is testament to her passion and how long it takes these indie designers to make their items. Bleu has had major clients like Beyoncé, Kylie Jenner, and Mariah Carey, an impressive accomplishment. Not only did Fashion Nova copy Bleu’s design, but the store used a photo of Bleu’s client Kylie Jenner wearing her tights to sell its cheaper imitation. What a mess!
Many Black indie designers would rather have larger brands (with the ability to produce more than them) to collaborate with lesser-known designers. This is a more ethical route than disrespecting the hardworking creatives by continuing to steal their work.
The Black Community’s Future Relationship With Fashion Nova
So, should the Black community stop supporting Fashion Nova since they steal from indie? fashion designers? Fashion Nova and large retailers should be able to showcase the Black indie artists they admire by, as I mentioned, collaborating with them. Fashion Nova will not be exposed to the same indie artists and will receive more compensation. It’s a win/win situation.
However, I also believe people should buy from whoever can give them what they’re willing to pay for. Because I love the work of artists and the support they receive, Etsy and art fairs are my preferred places to shop. Plus, I know that what I’m getting is unique. Yet, I also know that more than likely, whatever I’m purchasing will cost more than what I would pay for if I were to buy a similar item from a major retailer. Also, if I’m ordering from a small store or indie designerOnline, I might have to wait longer to get my items because the products are most likely handmade by the artist, or a small group of artists, and the creator handles all shipping and handling.
However, some people may not appreciate how much work it takes to create their products. People may complain about Black businesses not providing customer service, being too costly, or waiting too long to receive their goods. While it is easy to complain about not supporting major retailers like Fashion Nova and Forever 21 Zara, ASOS, etc., when it comes to supporting original indie artists, people must remember that while the products may be more expensive, they may also have to wait longer for their items to arrive. Some people prefer things that are more affordable and easier to get instead of waiting longer for the more expensive items they’ve been admiring.
What can indie artists do if major brands steal their ideas? That’s a tough question, and it usually involves funds many indie designers do not have. Large companies can be expensive to sue. It’s disturbing how easy it is for these massive brands to steal from indie designers with less power and money. Individuals can realize the importance of their money and start to support Black indie designers who are worthy of more attention.
Written by: Alicia Ivory
Alicia Ivory is a freelance copywriter and a lifelong writer. She has written copy for a wide range of companies, including blog posts, website content and copy. fashion brands, including Foot Locker, Lands’ End, Century 21, Nautica, and TJ MAXX. She is also a writer of fantasy and science fiction, mainly with African American characters. Some examples include the Black Children’s Books & Authors (BCBA) and the Free Black Woman’s Society. She edits articles by underrepresented authors through BCBA and coordinates with authors and representatives for local events.
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