Artist Claims Lane Bryant Ripped Off Her Work For T-Shirt Design

Image courtesy of Lane Bryant/Shantell Martin

Here we go again: another retailer accused of ripping off yet another independent artist without permission, and without offering any kind of payment. This time, a T-shirt sold by Lane Bryant is at the center of the brouhaha.

New York artist Shantell Martin aired her accusations against the brand on Wednesday, writing in a post on Facebook that white T-shirts from Lane Bryant reading “You Are You” on a background of hand drawn stick figures, faces, mountains, and trees looked awfully similar to work she’s done in the past.

Lane Bryant posted an image of a model wearing the shirt earlier this week:

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“The stick figures and the face and stuff … they’ve actually taken a drawing [of] mine, and cut that up and used that as the background,'” she told AdWeek’s AdFreak.

There’s also the issue of the wording on the T-shirt: Martin says she’s used variations on the question “Who Are You?” including answering it with, “You Are You” in her work for years. Her solo museum debut in 2014 was also titled, “Are You You.”

But she’s not claiming she owns that phrase, simply that the way it’s written on background images that resemble hers is not okay with her.

At first Lane Bryant’s only response to sympathizers calling out the brand for the alleged ripoff on social media was: “Thank you to everyone for bringing this to our attention. The information has been shared with our legal team for review.”

However, AdFreak says that on Thursday a representative for Lane Bryant had called Martin and the two were in contact. The T-shirt has also been removed from the Lane Bryant site and the brand’s Instagram page.

We also reached out to Ascena Retail Group, Lane Bryant’s parent company, and asked for comment. We’ll update this post when we hear back.

Martin is far from alone in having contentious dealings with big name brands: in July, an independent artist accused Zara of ripping off designs from her online store ; the designer who was shocked to find her pendant reborn as a Forever 21 necklace; the time Anthropologie apologized for swiping an artist’s design for a cell phone case; and wholesaler Cody Foster Co., which was accused of ripping off indie crafters.

Did Lane Bryant Just Make the Most Brazen Theft of an Artist’s Work Yet? [AdFreak]