Tuesday Bassen, an indie artist with clients like Playboy, The New Yorker, United Nations, Nike, and Adidas under her belt, claims to be the latest victim of seeing her ideas stolen and mass produced by fashion retailer Zara.
Bassen designs pins, patches and apparel and has a huge online following.
She recently posted the following on her Instagram account:
I've been pretty quiet about this, until now. Over the past year, @zara has been copying my artwork (thanks to all that have tipped me off--it's been a lot of you). I had my lawyer contact Zara and they literally said I have no base because I'm an indie artist and they're a major corporation and that not enough people even know about me for it to matter. I plan to further press charges, but even to have a lawyer get this LETTER has cost me $2k so far. ? It sucks and it's super disheartening to have to spend basically all of my money, just to defend what is legally mine. ?? EDIT: Some of you are asking how you can help. Repost and tag them, on Twitter, on Insta, on Facebook. I don't want to have to burden any of you with the financial strain that comes with lawsuits.
The photo includes images of her work along with exceptionally similar pieces sold by Zara. However, the accused fashion label disagrees vehemently and responded by saying, “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.”
In her own words:
Bassen, on the other hand, intends to continue to fight Zara, both for her work and the work of other artists.
She found out about the copying “through fans, who have sent hundreds of whistleblowing messages to [her] privately.”
After discovering the copies, Bassen said, “My lawyer reached out to them with the Keep Out, Heart Lolli, and Girls Pennant designs (before we discovered the Erase You copy) and they responded with images of generic heart lolly photographs saying that my work was too simple and also that basically no one would know it was me, because Zara gets 98,000,000 visitors and I'm an independent artist.”
She has been adamant in pursuing Zara for the theft and does not intend to give up, even though it’s costing her a lot of money.
Her Twitter timeline says it all:
I plan to further press charges, but even to have a lawyer get this LETTER has cost me $2k so far. pic.twitter.com/khCRWvHHzc— Tuesday Bassen (@tuesdaybassen) July 20, 2016
Theft of ideas is nothing new when it comes to the fashion industry, especially Zara, who is known to rip off lesser known designers and sell their designs on the fashion mass market for less.
Olivier Rousteing, a French fashion designer and the creative director of Balmain, has also been a target of plagiarism by Zara but has a (dare we say) positive response: "I love seeing a Zara window with my clothes mixed with Céline and Proenza [Schouler]! I think that's genius. It's even better than what I do! I love the styling, I love the story... I watch the windows always, and it's genius what they do today. They go fast, they have a great sense of styling and how to pick up what they have to pick up from designers. I'm really happy that Balmain is copied — when I did my Miami collection and we did the black and white checks, I knew they would be in Zara and H&M. But they did it in a clever way — they mixed a Céline shape with my Balmain print! Well done! I love that."
Adam Kurtz, another designer whose work has allegedly been copied, produced a graphic comparison of Zara’s products to those of indie artists:
Needless to say, Bassen has garnered a lot of support online: