UPDATE: A day after we posted the below story about Forever 21 selling a necklace very similar to an independent designer (which it had been doing since at least June), it appears the link has been taken down by the retailer. Forever 21 has still not returned our request for comment, but at least the necklace isn’t for sale anymore, or at least it seems that way. We’re still here, Forever 21, just in case you feel like responding publicly….
Just last week we were tut-tutting Anthropologie for accidentally swiping an artist’s design and selling it — and lo and behold, it’s not a unique situation by any means. Although we’re not even sure it was an accident: Consumerist reader Annette said she noticed another designer having the same problem, but the retailer in question this time is Forever 21.
Annette pointed us to the web site of artist Katherine Kane, whose homepage shows off various examples of her original monogrammed jewelry she’s designed. The most prominent image is that of a piece with the initials “LA” inside a necklace pendant.
Clicking over to Forever21.com, there’s what appears to be an exact copy, advertised as a “Cursive LA Necklace,” which appears to stand for Los Angeles and not an example of one kind of monogram available.
Was this another accident to be blamed on an errant vendor, or a blatant knock-off? We’re not sure — we reached out to Forever 21 last week as well as Katherine Kane, the artist, and so far have heard nothing back from Forever 21.
For her part, Kane is upset that the retailer apparently swiped her design. The item hasn’t been pulled from the site (as of this writing) since it was first brought to our attention in the middle of last week.
Kane tells Consumerist of the apparent copy:
“When I was first alerted to the knock-off, I felt an acute wave of sickness. It was such an exact (albeit poor quality) replica of my LA Signature Pendant, which I designed by hand with a calligraphy pen, that it was almost like discovering my signature had been forged on something without my consent. I have worked hard for the past few years to get my jewelry designs out to a larger audience. It was disheartening to see a bigger company that has that bigger audience swoop in and present my design as their own, particularly in light of the fact that the knock-off is really in opposition to everything my brand is about: quality, hand-rendered design, and US-based manufacturing.”
We’ll let you know if Forever 21 ever responds to our request for comment. In the meantime, tsk tsk. TSK. TSK.