Is Forever 21 the fashion industry’s Napster? | PW Style | A blog about style, fashion, beauty, arts and culture by Philadelphia Weekly
So I think we all realize that disposable-fashion stores like Forever 21 are not able to have such a blindingly fast-changing lineup of stuff (they change out the inventory every few weeks) not because they gave infinite monkeys infinite muslin and are manufacturing the best of the results. Neither is it because they’ve got the world’s best designers locked in a basement somewhere churning out hundreds of new patterns a day.
Nope, they pretty openly watch the catwalks during fashion weeks, then turn around a $30 version of that Rodarte dress in six weeks or fewer, often before the original design has gone into mass production.
Forever 21 in particular has become notorious for ripping off designs; they’ve been sued by over 50 designers in the past few years with little success. Now Trovata, a clothing line based in Newport Beach, CA, which, if you look at the picture above, obviously got copied by Forever 21, thinks it’s found a way to beat the company in the legal system. From WWD:
After two years of legal wrangling, Trovata’s lawsuit alleging that cheap-chic retailer Forever 21 copied its designs is headed to trial next month, and the outcome could have implications for both vendors and retailers in this age of fast fashion.
Barring a last-minute settlement, lawyers familiar with Forever 21’s extensive litigation history said this would be the first time the rapidly expanding retailer faces a jury that will determine whether it illegally clones other companies’ designs. The result could be a clarification of intellectual property rights in an era when facsimiles of runway looks often appear in multinational specialty chains before a designer’s original version has a chance to hit stores.
The federal court case involves seven garments Forever 21 sold in its stores in 2007, said to look identical, or almost identical, to garments designed by Trovata and publicized on the runway or in magazines.
Unlike other suits brought against Forever 21 in recent years by companies such as Diane von Furstenberg, Anna Sui, BeBe Stores and Anthropologie, the Trovata suit does not allege copyright violations. Under current law, only original prints or graphics on clothes can be copyrighted — as they are considered artwork — and Trovata’s suit focuses on Forever 21’s copying of its unique button placements, decorative stitching, fabric patterns and other details.
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