Asian American designer Chet Lo has accused a “certain fast-fashion company” of copying his spiky knitwear designs.
Last Saturday, the London-based designer turned to Instagram to respond to claims that his work had been plagiarised by a mass fashion brand.
“As a small brand and queer POC independent designer, I have worked incredibly hard to produce something that was based off my heritage,” he said. “I have always based my designs around my own personal experiences and I feel that it can be seen in my work.”
“These fast fashion companies consistently replicate works of smaller and more creative designers, but at the end of the day, authenticity, originality, and creativity can never be reproduced,” he continued.
While Lo refused to identify the fast-fashion brand in question, Diet Prada, an Instagram watchdog account, compared pieces from H&M’s new “Cherish Waste” collection to several of Lo’s designs.
The Diet Prada post also included screenshots of British-American designer Harris Reed’s now-expired Instagram Stories, where Reed had written: “I’m not one to post things about brands ripping off brands but to see H&M copying a young queer designer who works harder than anyone I know is truly disgusting.”
Lo is recognised for his complex spiky knitwear designs, which have been worn by celebrities such as Kylie Jenner and Dua Lipa. In Doja Cat and SZA’s “Kiss Me More” music video, which has racked up more than 331 million views on YouTube, the singers can also be seen wearing Lo’s custom spiky bodysuits.
In his Instagram post, Lo added: “Each piece ordered through my website is hand-knitted with love and care and not mass-produced just to make profits. I believe in working in an ethical and beautiful way, which I hope my clients and you all can appreciate.”
Fast fashion brands have been accused on multiple occasions of copying runway designs, allowing them to have new pieces ready to hit the shops very quickly.
According to India’s The Economic Times, Spanish brand Mango has been accused of ripping off Gucci designs in the past, while Forever 21 has been accused of stealing designs from Anna Sui and Diane von Furstenberg. Elexiay, a Nigerian crochet clothing brand, accused Shein of stealing one of its sweater designs with a cross-body pattern and long sleeves last year.