Retail giant Forever 21 is being called out for copying a Richmond clothing store’s sweater designs.
Granted Clothing’s Brian Hirano noticed while he was browsing Instagram that zip-up cardigan sweaters sold at his store were almost the same as sweaters being sold at Forever 21.
The wool sweaters sold at Granted Clothing are knitted with bear and whale designs and sell for $385. The independent, family-owned business was established in 1978 and its sweaters are handmade and manufactured in store.
Forever 21’s polyester version of the sweaters retail at $47.90.
Looking at a side by side comparison of the sweaters, it is not hard to see that they are nearly identical.
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
For Hirano, discovering Forever 21’s copycat tactics comes as a disappointment.
“What has happened is a blatant act of plagiarism – or just copying,” he told The Vancouver Sun.
Currently, the Granted Clothing management team is seeking out a strategy to handle the situation. It is possible that legal action could ensue, but no steps have been taken yet.
This is not the first time that Forever 21 has been in the spotlight for ripping of designs. Big name designers such as Anna Sui, Diane Von Furstenberg, and high end retailer, Anthropologie, have blamed Forever 21 for taking “inspiration” from their work. As a result, the American retail chain has been slapped with over 50 lawsuits.
As of yet, Forever 21 has not responded to Granted Clothing’s accusations.