Another day, another big-name fashion brand accused of ripping off one of its indie peers. This time around, the alleged wrongdoer is Topshop. The victim? Wesley Berryman, a favorite of Lady Gaga, FKA Twigs, Bella Hadid and stylist Farren Fucci. Though Berryman’s eponymous label only recently made its New York Fashion Week debut, the indie designer has already attracted a devout following thanks to his streetwise, goth-tinged, unisex designs. You’ll likely recognize his statement-making lace-up pieces from Hadid’s Internet-breaking Paper editorial.
It was these punky pieces that really put Berryman on the mainstream map and, ostensibly, attracted Topshop’s attention. On Wednesday, Israeli influencer Liron Eini took to Twitter to call out the British mega-retailer for mimicking said designs.
As Eini noted, a lace-up jacket featured in a recent Topshop ‘gram bears a striking resemblance to Berryman’s signature topper. Both feature white contrast stitching and chunky white lace detailing above the breast pockets and along the arms.
Additionally, a pair of lace-up wide leg jeans now available on Topshop’s website looks to be a knockoff of Berryman’s lace-up trousers. That said, there are several differences between Topshop’s version and Berryman’s original design. Topshop’s features a raw hem and wide, straight leg; Berryman’s features a raw waistline, subtly flared silhouette, hardware accents and a lace-up fly. (Not to mention the Topshop version is only about a third of the price of the original design.)
In an exclusive statement, Berryman told Fashionista that he is “devastated” to see his work co-opted by the high street chain.
“As an independent artist, I am absolutely devastated seeing such a huge retail chain profiting off of my ingenuity and creativity. As a member of the LGBTQ community, I am not surprised that this has happened because we live in a world where so many corporate establishments steal from minority communities to make a profit. Topshop is disgusting for participating in the fast-fashion meat machine, perpetuating the theft of independent designers, grinding up on our ideas, and spitting them out into their stores. This industry is notoriously rampant with retailers and even high-end fashion houses who blatantly steal from new designers. This is partly the reason why I choose to operate my brand on the outside…focusing on injecting the industry with my art but never bending to their archaic rituals.”
The designer’s words ring all too true, especially in a month that has seen Gucci essentially admit to copying the work of not one, not two, but three independent artists for its kitschy-cool Resort 2018 collection.
Topshop declined to comment on the accusations.
[ via Fashionista ]