Are Fast-Fashion Companies Stealing Designs?

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It is not every day that someone thinks of a design and creates it. It takes months to complete the look and maybe more to construct the design. There is a specific time frame and target market that goes into an idea. How would you feel if someone replicated your hard work?

A Los Angeles-based company that goes by the name of Valfre has been notified by customers that fast-fashion brands like Rue 21 and Forever 21 have similar merchandise in their store, not specialized from Valfre. Surprisingly, few employees were bothered.

The spokeswoman for Valfre, Alexandria Welch has said, “Fast-fashion companies have become known for this sort of thing.”

Forever 21 do have the ability to design their own version of anything from Valfre’s store, but instead, they replicated the entire item and removed the Valfre logo. This is not the first time Forever 21 has been accused of copying designer’s work.

Back in April, Puma sued Forever 21 for copying Rihanna’s shoe designs. An indie designer in New York who creates jewelry in a place called Sorelle’s has also noted that Forever 21 has been stealing her designs. When asked to comment, Forever 21 chose not to respond to remarks about them allegedly copying people’s work.

Social media has become a platform for users to caution businesses about other companies benefiting from work that is not their own. Small designers are known for special knick-knacks and clothing sold in their own boutiques or on e-commerce websites. For a fast-fashion company to look into up-and-coming designers and imitate what they have established has really hurt the smaller companies.

There is clear evidence that Forever 21 copied Valfre’s rainbow phone case. The images between the two retail companies show no difference in design or color. Valfre is ready to “file a copyright infringement action in federal court”, which the lawyer has agreed upon.

There has also been complaints towards Rue 21, a different company entirely that has been served for copying not one, but three of Valfre’s phone cases. Rue 21 has transformed them into earbuds using the same color and design. Like Forever 21, Rue 21 dismissed commenting on the issue, telling MarketWatch they do not say anything about active litigation. Loyal customers are not digging what fast-fashion companies are doing to Valfre’s company.

Ilse Valfre, the designer who started it all launched the company in 2013 because she aims to empower females. Coming from Mexico, Valfre said she “leveraged a large following she had amassed on Tumblr into starting her own company.”

It is difficult for consumers to spend money on expensive products, which is why they turn to fast-fashion companies because of the identical products that high-end designers construct. It is cheaper at Forever 21 and Rue 21, which makes customers more susceptible to buying the items. Legal regulation is important for fashion designers to ensure that their products are taken care of effectively.

Even when consumers are young, they like to fit in and seek status without going over budget. When that happens, it is easy to not care where you purchase an item, just as long as you have it.

When brands are smaller than mass-brands, it is harder to fight back. The mass-brands will use their power and popularity as a means to steal designs. There is talk about consumers knowing about the accusations, but pretending not to mind.

“If consumers have concerns about these types of issues then they should pay attention to the companies that are constantly violating artists’ copyrights and trademarks and shop elsewhere,” Welch has mentioned.

"I am a ship and I promise I will make it to the shores alive". Hello! My name is Serena Anthony, currently residing here in Chicago, IL, recently come from a five year stay in Malaysia. I am a Fashion Business major at Columbia College with a passion for incorporating writing and fashion together, which is awesome given that those are two of my favourite things. Especially after great sushi and a killer moshe cristo. Columbia is giving me the benefit of creatively getting a handle on my goals. Because I love art, more so when I get into a frenzy, this college is a mix of serious and enjoyable experiences. I hope to keep my future like that as well!

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