A series of badges created by artist Tuesday Bassen have pretty much been ‘ripped off’ by fashion giant, ZARA. The artist took to Instagram with a comparison image to vent her frustration, and the similarities are very clear.
This artist’s designs and illustration style are very distinct, which makes it clear to see exactly why she took to social media to explain that the designs are hers. In her Instagram post, she also tagged three other artists that also came forward to show that they have also been plagiarised by Zara all in the same year.
It is no secret that fashion retailers look at their consumer attitudes and style to help them source inspiration for new collections, but they are often the only winners in this situation. When fashion giants do this, they don’t refer to it as a collaboration, they don’t pay, and they rarely credit for anything they source. When retail brands are evidently caught out for ‘copying’, the ethical action to take would be to remove items from the collection, and chose not to sell them at all. Or at least apologise…
This wasn’t Zara’s attitude to the uproar, Bassen was unlucky, she told Dazed Mag that Zara indirectly implied that she has no base to stand on, as she is a young artist with 90k followers on Instagram, and they are much larger than her with 90 million customers. They also hinted that ‘only a hand full of people’ would realise that the designs were hers.
Forever 21 has been reported to get themselves into this kind of thing, and has a very long history of lawsuits – roughly 30 in 2016. Most of these cases were built on allegations very much the same as Zara’s, for stealing the work of other designers with no agreement, credit or payment.
It is common knowledge that designers look to Instagram and Pinterest to seek inspiration from others, often crediting them in appreciation. But it is also recognised that when sourcing inspiration, they are sure not to infringe on each other’s work. The ethical reasoning being; its illegal, and the moral reason, that an artist has probably spent years trying to perfect an original and unique design.
Even though taking formal legal action, it is going to leave her pockets running low, Bassen wants to do it for the artists who may not have the funds to stand up for themselves and their work.
All this makes us question, if independent artists can try their hardest not to steal the work of others, why is it difficult for one of the world’s largest fashion retailers?
Here is a link to shop on the ORIGINAL artists site: Tuesday Bassen, Pins and Patches.