Givenchy has been accused of copying the design of her leather hats from a New York designer.
The French luxury brand’s creative director, Matthew M Williams, posted a selfie in a black bucket hat on his Instagram earlier this week, prompting HardWear K style designer Tyson Perez to to write in the comment section: “Well this doesn’t look familiar …”
Pérez alleges that the design of the leather cap is very similar to one of his from 2013. In an extensive Instagram post, along with photos of his design and those of the Givenchy designer wrote: “This kind of appropriation and creative colonization by a major European brand of small black designers / brands is nothing new, but this shit must end.”
He added: “I don’t care if [Williams] receives a culture pass due to his association with Kanye [West], Playboi Carti and Kid Cudi – The mere fact that I am wearing a design that I have developed, perfected and promoted since 2013 is an example of the systemic oppression that black and brown creatives have faced in the fashion industry since forever “.
Speaking to The Guardian, Pérez said: “I think that white designers, artists, writers, animators, or any form of creativity that appropriates black culture during any period without recognition is wrong and downright disgusting. Unfortunately, it is no longer shocking.
“It was not correct or shocking in 1920 and although it is not shocking in 2020, it can no longer be accepted with everything that happens around social justice, police brutality and racial equality,” he said.
This year, fashion brands, stores and executives have come under fire for their inability to diversify the industry. In June, Anna Wintour, the editor of US Vogue, was called in for her apology for the lack of black creatives in her magazine, and critics called it empty. Fashion and beauty brands were also charged with performative responses to the George Floyd police murders and hypocrisy in light of store floor racism.
“The fashion industry is absolutely systematically racist and a lot of times takes pride in it,” said Pérez, who has worked in the industry for 15 years. “The real fight is to take the fashion industry beyond the comfort of tokenism.”
Prominent examples of major fashion brands accused of copying the designs of smaller brands include Chanel, who was accused of copying Scottish designer Mati Ventrillon and then offering to credit her; Gucci, who was accused of copying Brave Dan before collaborating with him; and Louis Vuitton, who was accused of culturally appropriating the plaid from the Maasai tribe.
“Black designers are often told that we should ‘take it as a compliment’ or, in some way, ‘feel honored’ when our designs created with our blood, sweat and tears are stolen from underneath us by European powers,” Perez said.
But allegations of plagiarism in fashion design are often difficult to verify.
“The line between copying and ‘homage’ is difficult to draw,” said Professor Eleonora Rosati of Fashion Law London. “Not each and every copy is a violation of legal rights: what is copied must be protected for there to be an infringement,” he said.
“This brings me to the second reason, which is related to the proof of the infringement: unless you have a registered right, in order to successfully sue someone for an alleged copy of a design, it is necessary to prove access to your own design and your copy. Did they copy you or someone else? “
The Guardian has contacted Givenchy for comment.
Digsmak is a news publisher with over 12 years of reporting experiance; and have published in many industry leading publications and news sites.