Last week, high street chain Zara was publicly accused of plagiarism by independent LA artist Tuesday Bassen. In a statement posted on her Instagram account last Tuesday (July 19), the designer highlighted the shocking similarities between her pins and patches, and the ones in the label’s latest range.
“I had my lawyer contact Zara, and they literally said I have no (case) because I'm an indie artist and they’re a major corporation,” Bassen wrote, shortly after she made the discovery. “Not enough people even know about me for it to matter.”
Despite that, it didn’t take long for other indie artists to emerge with similar complaints. Designer Adam J. Kurtz – another apparent victim of Zara’s theft – supported Bassen after she issued the statement, and has since begun a campaign to expose the Spanish fashion chain. His new site, titled ‘ShopArtTheft’, catalogues all the designs that appear to have been stolen by the brand; with the number of artists involved now hitting 42.
“We were all surprised to find that our creative work was suddenly all over Zara product,” Kurtz wrote in a statement on his website. “Our original art has been reproduced as pin and patch sets, embroidered decals and prints on apparel. Though some of the themes maybe be simple shapes or icons, Zara’s replications are near-identical, and the massive scale of this theft from a tight-knit creative scene implies a conscious choice by Zara, Bershka, Pull&Bear, Stradivarius and the parent company Inditex to not bother making significant modifications.”
Bassen – who is currently in the middle of a fraught legal battle with Zara – has also shown support for Kurtz’s campaign, writing on her Instagram yesterday that the problem was “so much worse” than she originally thought. “I want to make note that Zara has blocked @-mentioning ShopArtTheft because they don’t want people to know THE VOLUME of their theft and plagiarism,” she added.
Although Bassen is currently struggling with an expensive legal case, she has since requested that people do not start up crowdfunders or donate any money to cover the fees. Instead, she says, people should be putting their money towards the artists who have suffered from Zara’s apparent plagiarism. “Saw a GoFundMe in my name today, please don't donate to or start these,” she wrote on Twitter yesterday. “There are many other charities that deserve donations instead of me.”
All work from artists involved is currently available to buy at ShopArtTheft.com. Visit the website here.
Follow Dominique Sisley on Twitter here @dominiquesisley
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