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We all know by now that fashion brands take inspiration from their fellow designers – especially when a design becomes so popular, customers are looking to spend their coins to recreate the look on a budget. Fast fashion retailers are probably the biggest culprits of all when it comes to navigating fashion trends. We can always expect to see them push out as many replicas as possible to win big bucks.
Although imitation makes it easy for us to keep our wardrobes modern, it also makes it difficult for original designers to capitalize on their creativity. What makes it worse is that the person who loses money usually has less money, power, and less exposure. for example, fashion NovaA large fashion store that constantly robbed Black Indy designers, it caused lesser known designers to lose money and demand designs that they had worked tirelessly on for years.
Recently, Fashion Nova got into hot water after a designer named Aazhia accused both the store and Megan Thee Stallion from 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, closely resembles (or, let’s be honest, it was almost an exact copy) of Aazhia’s TLZ L’Femme Dress.
Aazhia wrote in an Instagram post, “IMA broke this reality simple! My dress was stolen and used in this MEGAN X FN COLLAB! Did I say? No! Was I compensated? No!” The rapper’s team had previously reached out to Azhia, expressing an interest in one of her dresses for an event Meghan was attending. She continued, ‘He took me back so much for disrespecting another black woman! There is a tired narrative that black women are so ostracized, but we do it to everyone else!!!! “
In an interview with morning bustleMegan tried to clean the air. She said, “A lot of times, people say they talked to someone on my team. I don’t know what year it was. I don’t know who . . . what you’re talking about? And a lot of times, they won’t even bring me in. . . . they don’t tell me with whom.” they speak “. She continued to deny the allegations by saying, “I’ve probably never heard of you like I’ve never seen this dress before. But it was a dress that’s been done a lot, like, over the years. So I feel bad that people’s initial reaction would just be to come to me like, ‘Oh, You’re a black woman! You steal from black women! And I’m like, “Damn, wait, sister, ‘Cause, like, I don’t know you.”
The points Meghan tried to make fell on deaf ears. Perhaps her team didn’t tell her about the meeting with Azia, so she wasn’t aware of Azha’s dress similarity to hers from the group. Also, it is very easy to accuse another black woman of theft to avoid perpetuating any stereotypes. However, if Meghan’s team had done research on Fashion Nova, they would have realized that it’s no new news that Fashion Nova likes to imitate independent designers, especially black women designers. Fashion Nova not only steals from independent designers, but the company also rejects, ignores, or even blocks independent designers trying to solve the problem.
Fashion Nova constant controversy
Lucy Wilden, crochet artist and founder of the Knots & Vibes brand, also struggled with Fashion Nova sticky toes. In 2019, Fashion Nova was caught selling a replica of her dress, Skin Out Dress (released in 2017). It is understood that Wilden reached out to the company, which it blamed on the wholesalers. After she was directed to the PR department, she never heard anything about Fashion Nova again.
Another designer, Destiny Bleu, owner of d.bleu.dazzled, lost a big deal after Fashion Nova and smaller stores copied Midnight Sky Tights, which feature a signature crystal finish. She applies each crystal by hand, as a testament to her passion and how long it takes these independent designers to produce their items on their own or with a small team rather than the big retailers. Bleu has had major clients such as Beyoncé, Kylie Jenner, and Mariah Carey, which is an impressive feat. Not only did Fashion Nova copy the Bleu design, the store used a photo of Bleu client Kylie Jenner wearing leggings to sell her cheaper imitations. What a mess!
Many black independent designers prefer bigger brands (with more means of production than them) to collaborate with lesser known designers, which is a more ethical path, rather than showing disrespect by continuing to steal the art of serious designs.
The future black community’s relationship with Nova fashion
So, should the black community stop supporting Fashion Nova because they are stealing from independent fashion designers? I think department stores and brands like Fashion Nova should strive to highlight the black independent artists who, as mentioned earlier, inspire them, in collaboration with these artists. This way, indie artists will get more exposure and compensation, and Fashion Nova will avoid terrible publicity in the future. the win.
However, I also believe that people should buy from anyone who can give them what they are willing to pay for. I prefer shopping on Etsy or at art galleries because I love the dedication and creativity the artists put into their work, and I love showing my support firsthand. Plus, I know what I get is unique. However, I also know that most likely, everything I buy will cost more than I would pay if I were to purchase a similar item from a major retailer. Also, if I’m ordering from a small shop or independent online designer, I may have to wait longer to receive my items since the products are most likely not handmade by the artist or a small team, but the content creator does all the shipping and handling themselves.
On the other hand, some people may not appreciate the time and dedication that independent artists take to create their products. These people may complain about poor customer service at black companies, their high prices, or having to wait a long time to receive their items. So people can talk about not supporting giant retailers like Fashion Nova, Forever 21, Zara, ASOS and more, but when the time comes to support original independent artists, people should remember, yes, the products may be more expensive or they may have to wait. longer to receive their items. Some people prefer things that are more affordable and easier to get rather than waiting longer to get the more expensive items they liked.
What can independent artists do to ensure that major brands do not steal their ideas again? This is a tricky question, and it usually involves money that many freelance designers don’t have. Taking legal action against big companies means having expensive lawyers. It’s annoying how easy it is to steal these huge brands from independent designers with less power and money. But if individuals continue to realize how important their money is, they can start putting their hard-earned money toward passionate black indie music designers who deserve more exposure.
Written by: Alicia Ivory
Alicia Ivory is a copywriter, writer for life, who loves to write and tell stories for as long as you can remember. I’ve written copies, blog posts, website content, and more for a range of fashion brands, including Foot Locker, Lands’ End, Century 21, Nautica, and TJ MAXX. She also writes fiction and science fiction for children, primarily with African American characters, and volunteers with organizations that promote the diverse voices and experiences of African American authors and writers. Some examples include Black Children’s Books and Authors (BCBA) and the Free Black Woman’s Association. Through the BCBA, you edit articles by underrepresented authors and coordinate with authors and their representatives for local events.
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