So if like me, you spend half your time on social media flicking between Instagram and Pinterest then there’s a big chance you’ll have heard about the latest scandal involving Zara, River Island, and several small independent artists.
Basically, indie artists such as Olivia Mew of Stay Home Club, and Tuesday Bassen have come forward, sharing with their social media followers, comparison images of their work next to Zara and River Islands ‘Rip-off’ copies.
I mean I have to admit, some of the pieces are so obviously similar it would be very hard to believe that this was a coincidence… especially since there are so many examples.
Despite having some pretty darn solid proof on their side, Mew and co didn’t really have much they could do.
Both have been told that because of the sheer size of their opponent, the likeliness of them winning anything if they take the matter to court is near impossible. Leaving their only real option to copyright all their future work, as painstaking and expensive as it is for small independent designers.
Despite this, Bassen has since lawyered up and taken on Zara, who have withdrawn the sales of items bought up by Bassen in her case until it is resolved.
Although this is a start, sadly there is very little that the artists can do to protect their work from being stolen, especially by much larger companies with lots of money and power at their disposal.
Ohio based brand These Are Things were another victim of Zara’s knock off copies and wrote on instagram, ‘Unfortunately, this is not the first time our work has been stolen, nor will it be the last. There’s also not much that independent artists can do to fight international, multi-billion dollar corporations.’
One thing we do know for certain is that the power of the internet is not to be undermined, its thanks to the huge response from internet warriors the world over that these cases even came to light in the first place. With so many people prepared to boycott the offending brands designs if they continue to rip off smaller artists, bigger businesses will hopefully begin to think twice before copying designs and putting their reputation on the line.