Another day, another dollar.
That’s how Zara’s response sounded to an independent artist who recently claimed the Spanish brand copied her designs.
The artist, Los Angeles-based Tuesday Bassen, recently posted a screen grab accusing the international retailer of stealing her original pieces.
“Over the past year, [Zara] has been copying my artwork (thanks to all that have tipped me off it’s been a lot of you),” she wrote on her Instagram account. “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 and that not enough people even know about me for it to matter.”
The brand allegedly wrote back to Bassen’s lawyers that there was a “lack of distinctiveness” in the claims and how a “significant part of the population anywhere in the world” would not recognize the art pieces as her work.
I’ve been pretty quiet about this, until now. Over the past year, @zara has been copying my artwork (thanks to all that have tipped me offit’s been a lot of you). I had my lawyer contact Zara and they literally said I have no base because I’m an indie artist and they’re a major corporation and that not enough people even know about me for it to matter. I plan to further press charges, but even to have a lawyer get this LETTER has cost me $2k so far. It sucks and it’s super disheartening to have to spend basically all of my money, just to defend what is legally mine. EDIT: Some of you are asking how you can help. Repost and tag them, on Twitter, on Insta, on Facebook. I don’t want to have to burden any of you with the financial strain that comes with lawsuits.
From the Instagram post, it’s obvious that both Bassen and Zara’s designs are very similar to each other.
Tuesday Bassen (@tuesdaybassen) July 19, 2016
This isn’t too surprising. In the past, we’ve written about how American designers have little to no protection over their original works. And as much as brands take measures to copyright their designs, they are virtually powerless to stop fast-fashion giants like H&M, Topshop and Forever 21 from copying them.
At this point, brands can only use social media shaming as a means to seek justice, said Susan Scifidi, the director at the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law, to Mashable.
“That works for companies that canbe shamed, and has continued to work,” she said.
In this case, it looks like the shaming was successful.
In a statement to Mashable, the brand’s parent company, Inditex, said it would suspend any sale of the items:
Inditex has the utmost respect for the individual creativity of all artists and designers and takes all claims concerning third party intellectual property rights very seriously. Inditex was recently contacted by Tuesday Bassens lawyers who noted the use of illustrations in some badges sourced externally and on clothes in its Group stores. The Company immediately opened an investigation into the matter and suspended the relevant items from sale. Inditexs legal team is also in contact with Tuesday Bassens lawyers to clarify and resolve the situation as swiftly as possible.
But it might be a little too late for Zara, as bloggers and other designers have taken to Twitter to lambast the brand.
I love Tuesday Bassen so much & I’m so upset that Zara thinks they can get away with this. I wish ppl would stop stealing other ppl’s art!!!
chels (@crucidix) July 20, 2016
I was wondering where Zara suddenly got all that fun creativity game going on. Tuesday Bassen, you deserve all the credit!!!
Mandy (@mandanatasha) July 20, 2016
If you buy from ZARA, don’t. They’ve stolen work from illustrator/designer Tuesday Bassen and who knows who else…. https://t.co/kF1qebGmoj
Phillip Ginn (@phillipginn) July 20, 2016
While disappointing, perhaps big retailers including Zara will learn from their mistakes and begin to respect young and independent artists.
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