In your local Tophshop, next to black faded, straight-leg jeans, and a delicate lace tank hangs a studded leather jacket, covered in studs and punk rock band names, including Vandals, Against Me!, and Refused. But Laura Jane Grace, the front woman for Against Me! noticed the $700 leather jacket and remarked that the band did not approve the use of their name to be on a jacket for mass consumers.
On twitter Grace posted a picture of the jacket on twitter saying “Hey @Topshop, you’re selling a $700 leather jacket with my bands name on it and you have no permission. Not cool.” Later, after outraged fans and customers, Topshop responded with a tweet of their own saying, “@LauraJaneGrace Hi there, we’re looking into this. We have removed the jacket from our website & are currently withdrawing from stores.” Laura Grace commented with a simple, “thank you much.”
This is not the first time Topshop has used an artist’s brand or name without permission. In 2013, Rihanna won a lawsuit over an oversized sleeveless jersey with her face on it.
Recently fast fashion company’s have stepped on a lot of toes in the process of creating mass consumer worthy clothes. Urban Outfitter’s faced issues with the Kent State T-shirt or their Navajo printed underwear, and the hundreds of copyright lawsuits filed against Forever 21.
In March, Forever 21 sold a T-shirt that said in grungy font “Been Around The World,” on the front and “Been Around” on the back, with two graphic worlds posted on the sleeves. It wasn’t until one fan noticed the similarities of this shirt and the logo and song lyrics from the rising pop-punk band State Champs.
The fan posted on twitter outraged by the similarities and the price, $70. The band later commented on the fan’s twitter saying, “they ripped us off :(.”
To this day Forever 21 is still selling sports bras that read “Been Around,” on the bust in the same font and a necklace that also says “Been Around The World,” from their brand “This Is A Love Song X Just For The Money.”
And interestingly enough, State Champs’ song “Around The World And Back” is a love song and Forever 21 is in it for the money.
Fast fashion chains have always stayed successful off of 3rd parties who are inspired by designer’s latest fashions from runways. The fast fashion industry have always made designers feel unsafe about sharing their designs on the runway, in threat of their looks being copied. High fashion designers are so afraid of this copyright infringement that the fashion week schedule is shifting to feature more “See now, buy now” runways. And now the mass consumer fashion industry are making music artists feel unsafe about their lyrics, brands and even faces being used to create clothes.
Unfortunately, when fast fashion chains pair up with music stars it is always successful for business; not only for the stores but for the artist’s. Take the Topshop and Beyonce collaboration “Ivy Park,” which sold out in most sizes in an hour. And the Justin Bieber, Forever 21 collaboration for the merch for his Purpose Tour has been the latest craze in the Belieber community since its release in August.
Designers create clothes to have their opinion of the world through ruffles and bralettes and music artists change the world through verses, slant rhymes and guitar solos. The collaboration of these art forms result in “Ivy Park” and a way for mass consumers to express themselves but without that respect the industry is left with bands ripped off and sweatpants made just for the money.