It's no secret the high street loves to 'borrow' the odd idea or 10 from independent creatives, who are leading the way and pushing fashion boundaries to bring you guys unique, exciting ideas to keep you looking fresh and original!
On Sunday we were told Kurt Geiger had been selling a knock off of our signature catsuit shape (that you can find in 99% of our catsuits over the past 6 years). We looked them up, and the worst part of it? We actually felt lucky when we saw them.
Why?? We've grown accustomed to seeing our peers' brands identically copied and severely undercut on price, often with no response from the high street giant, let alone apology or payment for use of the idea. At least in this instance they have used an "interesting" colour palette (we can't see Burnt Soul lovers being remotely tempted!), and they hadn't been able to severely undercut us on price, as is standard in this sort of instance. Even though they're a big established brand, with big factories abroad, their original price of £100 isn't too far off the prices we're able to offer making small volumes in the UK. This being said, it is still incredibly disheartening to see something that we spent a long time perfecting, and that is such a strong part of our brand DNA being stolen and used for another's profit without any recognition or credit.
We've seen it time and time again, and whilst some brands have had some success in getting their copies removed, for example Claudia Pink has successfully taken on Topshop, Asos and River Island, often this isn't the case. We wanted to use this instance as a platform to draw attention to other examples of where this has happened and big, rich, fast fashion companies have steamrollered over the creatives they have taken from. We want to support independents and encourage this above all else. Sure, they may cost a little more - but there is very good reason for this. By shopping independent, you're promoting originality, you're pushing individual style forward, and above all that - you're saying you want to support real people, not boards, stock holders and algorithms. You're showing that there no longer has to be one defined route to being "successful", and how cool is that?!
To give you an idea of the scale of this issue, here are just a few examples of this happening in the industry.
A Creative Wonderland - these guys have had numerous items copied. Handmade jackets ripped off by Pretty Little Thing, and handmade crochet tops copied near identically by Missguided. These items take time and a lot of love to design, and to then make by hand. It's only when huge corporations with huge budgets come in, are they able to bring prices down by using expensive machinery that is unaccessible for smaller labels, as well as taking production to places where wages are minimal.
Jade Clark - A number of their prints and designs have been stolen by Ali Express sellers, which have then been resold by other cheap fast fashion sites - even using Jade Clark images to market knock off, lower quality versions. And, Pretty Little Thing have also lifted their Stay Sassy prints to mass produce on their swimwear.
Daisy Shock - these girls have had their designs taken by their own factory, and sold on to Ali Express, where once again, Daisy Shock's own images have been used to market cheap copies of the design.
Elsie & Fred - festival fashion kings and queens, they've had a number of pieces stolen, from cheap and low quality versions of their icon sequin shorts, to their crochet tops being exactly copied by Missguided.
Sculptures Swim - Missguided, sponsors of Love Island, directly copied a swimsuit that was worn by a contestant into the Love Island villa. They released it as their own design.
Rat & Boa - Missguided once again... (anyone else spot a theme here?!) pinching a near identical design of their original Luina Dress.
Babydol Clothing - Pretty Little Thing have lifted their Cowboy Print Chaps design exactly for their festival edit.
Stay Sick - Pretty Little Thing (once again... theme appearing anyone?!) exactly copying a swimsuit from them, and then selling it for an obscenely low £5.... yes you heard that right!
Claudia Pink - As mentioned above, jewellery designer has had to fight many battles over the past few years, with her gorgeous pieces picked up and copied by nearly every high street giant, and cheap wholesale sites whilst we're at it. Her pieces, like the vast majority of pieces above are handcrafted in the UK, with a whole lot of care, love and creativity.
These are only just touching the surface of the issue in the fashion industry, and only a very small selection of the brands that have had issues with this. It's a widespread problem where copying is not only common, it's almost come to be expected. This is something we feel strongly needs to change.
We totally see how lower price points can be tempting (we've all been there!!), but we're sure you'll agree, the saying buy cheap by twice definitely comes into play here. The only positive is that it is forever pushing us designers to be more creative, more forward thinking, and to keep originality going. It means the world to us that you continue to support independents, that you choose to buy the original and hold those wrongly profiting from others hard work accountable.
Want to support Burnt Soul? We love you for this! We want, more than anything, for them to keep being reminded of this until they're forced to respond. Emails, calls, comments on their Facebook and/or Instagram posts, shares of this blog - anything you can do to show them this kind of behaviour can't be ignored! We can't thank you guys enough for the overwhelming support we've had so far, it means the world.
If you want to keep an eye out for future rip offs... give Fashion Fakes a follow on Instagram, they keep a great record of similar problems in our industry!
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