Indie artist and illustrator Tuesday Bassen has proven the rumour of Zara’s copycatting game to be true and has taken the case to court.
Some of the copyright-protected work infringed includes an array of original pins with Heart and Lolli motives that have been copied and affixed by Zara to a number of pieces. The artist wouldn’t have known about the scandal if customers hadn’t sent her images. Bassen took it to Instagram, where she shared the official law letter with her followers.
…And I was all like…
Bassen called out Zara not only because of her own work being knocked off and speaks for many other artists and illustrators. So far, the whole ‘thingy’ has cost her already a lot. Nevertheless, in the letter the Spanish company clarified that Bassen has no right to accuse the concern. As reasons it calls her low brand reputation and reproached her work to lack in originality. In other words, they simply told her to fuck off. As much as we love Zara, stealing some others work is definitely a no-go.
How the Zara business model works
Zara’s well-thought business model was invented in 1984. Since then the brand made a decisive head start against competitors like Mango and H&M and are performing very well on the Fast Fashion front. According to a case study published by the Kristianstad University in 2007, the brand’s marketing strategy focuses on high technology production resulting in short lead times of ten to fifteen days only. With laser cut technology they are always one step ahead of luxury brands as well as smaller businesses; Both produce in manual labour and take weeks to land in stores. Zara might spread the word for Bassen but the brand has not given her any credits.
Michael Heck, a Seattle-based graphic designer for Fantagraphics got ripped off as well. His signature pin, the ‘melting Saturn’ is now gracing some red hot pants in the Zara shelves. He also called out the Fast Fashion brand to stop copying his artwork on Facebook:
Since Bassen called out Zara as the copycat the list with people claiming kept growing. Each of them stood up against the mass production brand but have not yet succeeded.
The question is, will individual artists ever have a chance to stand up against the Fast Fashion industry? We’ll see. Maybe the number of claims will turn things upside down. Maybe it’s time for the brand to confess and to think twice about its copy rage.