Forever 21 is back in the spotlight over allegations of copying. But, in a surprising twist, the fast fashion retail giant is the one that’s being copied. Yep, you read that correctly. Forever 21, the company that’s notorious for stealing from independent designers, has itself been copied by luxury French fashion brand Saint Laurent.
Fashion blogger and Marie-Claire contributor, Nicolette Mason, spotted the similarities between Hedi Slimane’s lipstick print dress from the Autumn/Winter 2015 Saint Laurent collection and a jersey print dress with a strikingly similar print that retailed at Forever 21 back in 2013. The biggest difference? The Saint Laurent dress is currently selling for $3,490 whereas the Forever 21 version was just $23.
Will there be a legal battle? As regular readers know, although copyright law doesn’t protect fashion designs, the fabric print used in the fashion design may be protected providing that it is original. Lipstick print dresses are nothing new but we’re inclined to think this Forever 21 dress will meet the requisite standard. The test for originality isn’t particularly stringent. A work can be original, in the legal sense, without being novel or unique. Just because a lipstick has been printed on a fabric in the past, it doesn’t mean it can’t be protected by copyright law, providing the artist displays an minimal level of creativity – for example, the holder, the shape of the stick and the shades are presented in a distinctive way. And as the Saint Laurent version looks pretty much identical, there’s a pretty good chance that Hedi and gang are guilty of copyright infringement. More to come!