Recently Cara Delevingne has been spotted and subsequently lauded for wearing a recreation of a feminist t-shirt from the 1970s emblazoned with the words ‘The Future is Female’. Such was the t-shirt’s popularity that Delevingne decided to sell a version of it herself. “A lot of you have been asking for one of these – so I decided to put them up for sale, with proceeds going to Girl Up!” she announced on Instagram yesterday, posting a picture of Adwoa Aboah and herself wearing the garment together with a link to an online boutique.
Around four hours later, @h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y (an Instagram account devoted to “herstoric lesbian imagery”) accused the model and actress of plagiarising LA-based design studio Otherwild’s recreation. “It appears that Cara Delevingne @caradelevingne decided to rip-off #Otherwild without permission or notice and is making #thefutureisfemale items herself,” they write.
“She has not informed her 20mil+ followers that she got the #thefutureisfemale sweatshirt from Otherwild even though there was an article in the NY Times about her receiving it from her girlfriend St. Vincent from OW just 2 weeks ago” they continue. “No politics, ethics or regard for the legal tenets, No sense of shame. No regard for feminist, queer-owned small business. This is how you support a cause? This is not the female future.”
The t-shirt was originally made for Labyris Books (the first women’s bookstore in New York City) in 1972 and gained cult status when photographer Liza Cowan took a picture of her then-girlfriend Alix Dobki wearing it three years later in 1975. Since Otherwild’s recreation earlier this year, the t-shirt has been seen on Lena Dunham, Delevingne’s girlfriend Annie Clark of St. Vincent as well as Delevingne herself.
However as the Otherwild’s owner Rachel Berks tells Jezebel, their recreation was done with permission. “Otherwild’s reissue and redesign of the slogan is protected under copyright law, which mandates that any reproduction of an existing known public work must be altered at least 20% from the original.”
While Delevingne is yet to respond to the allegations she has replied to one of her critics on Instagram saying, “I did not steal anything, they (Otherwild) did not create the slogan.”