Like many fashion and retail giants before it, Forever 21 is being accused of copying a smaller designer's ideas without credit or monetary compensation. In this case, the company appears to have ripped off the design of a T-shirt by creative agency Word that was tied to a Planned Parenthood benefit.
News of the controversy quickly spread on the internet, pushing Forever 21 to respond with the following statement to Teen Vogue: "The shirt in question was bought from a third party source. As soon as Forever 21 was alerted to the issue, we respectfully removed it from our website. Because this product did not have trademark or IP protections, there were no red flags raised at the time of purchase."
The shirt in question features the word "woman" written in nine different language, and a description on Word's website says it's meant to "to represent our belief that feminism and human right should be intersectional. Women from all races, cultures, religions, and economic backgrounds deserve access to safe medical care." It also says that 25% of the proceeds from the sale of each T-shirt are donated to Planned Parenthood.
Though larger designers will likely continue to try to profit off the design's of lesser known creators, social media's power to quickly spread information and garner support against this type of occurrence will hopefully keep it in check.