Fashion retailer Zara faces backlash for plagiarizing designs from indie artists

  • LA-based designer Tuesday Bassen accused Zara of copying her designs
  • She took to social media to expose the alleged plagiarism which triggered other artists to speak up
  •  As of writing, 17 designers have been affected by Zara and other fashion brands’ illegal reproduction of their works

Multinational clothing company Zara is under fire after a Los Angeles-based indie artist took to social media to share her ordeal with the fashion brand stealing her and other artists’ designs.

Tuesday Bassen, an illustrator and designer, posted on Instagram a side-by-side comparison of the pins she designed next to Zara’s; pointing out that the clothing brand copied her pins and patches which she also sells online.

“You know what? Sometimes it sucks to be an artist because companies like Zara consistently rip you off and deny it,” she said.

The artist took legal action as soon as she saw her designs were stolen by a multi-million dollar company.

Inditex, Zara’s parent company, responded to Bassen through their lawyers and said: “We reject your claims here for reasons similar to those already stated above: the lack of distinctiveness of your client’s purported designs makes it very hard to see how a significant part of the population anywhere in the world would associate the signs with Tuesday Bassen.”

The company’s offensive legal response triggered many artists to speak up as  Bassen is not the only one who has fallen victim to Zara and other big fashion retailers’ illegal reproduction of designs.

A friend of Bassen and fellow artists Adam J Kurtz organized a list of products from various designers under the heading “Shop the Stolen Art” in his website; with the purpose of asking the public to support individual artists by purchasing their work directly.

As of posting, 17 artists and small independent design companies have been affected by corporations copying their works.

Kurtz told The Guardian that cases of plagiarism is due to the company’s laziness.

“Mistakes do happen and big companies are made up of individual people,” Kurtz said. “But if it happens a dozen times in one season, that’s intentional.”

He pointed out that big fashion companies such as Zara can easily form partnerships with independent creators as it was already done by another apparel chain, Urban Outfitters, that now legally carries designs from various indie designers.