Noteworthy #067: Shop Art Theft

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or have declared yourself free of the grips of fast-fashion (more power to you), there’s a pretty big chance that you’ve heard about the indie artists who are claiming that Zara has ripped off their designs. While these sort of accusations are nothing new, the creation of Shop Art Theft, a website that displays a variety of work from indie artists next to their Zara copy cat,  shows just how large-scale and troublesome the situation has become.

The website, which was started by indie artists Tuesday Bassen and AdamJ. Kurtz, promotes the idea of buying merchandise directly from indie designers by displaying the copy-cat versions next to the real deal and providing shopping links.

shop art theft

Zara accused of ripping off LA indie designer // Source: Dazed

The biggest (literally, the biggest) problem Shop Art Theft brings to light is how many indie artists have actually seen their work replicated by Zara. According to the site, Zara has stolen dozens of artworks from “over 20 independent illustrators, designers, and brands.” Just the sheer amount of artists who have been victim to this would imply that Zara, and its parent company, weren’t completely blind to what was going on. I mean, how could they be?

While the designs themselves aren’t anything that’s out of this world (a majority of them consist of ordinary objects with quirky sayings that aren’t necessarily uncommon), the amount of similarities between Zara’s merchandise and the artwork is uncanny, and it seems as though there’s a strong connection between the two.

Needless to say, whatever is going down at Zara that’s resulted in the pushback from indie artists (and literally anybody who appreciates creativity and good business sense), Kurtz puts it best on the site by saying: “If independent artists can make sure they don’t infringe on each other’s work, surely the world’s largest global fashion retailer has employees who can spend an hour with Google image search and Pinterest to ensure copyright infringement isn’t happening, no matter where or with whom the art they’re using originates.”


Header image source: Shop Art Theft

Do you think Shop Art Theft will help limit the amount of artist infringement by big retailers? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section! 

Emma Klug started The Style Note in the fall of 2012. Her writing has been featured in DBusiness Magazine, Chicago Sun-Times, Nothing Major, The Working Wardrobe, Chicago Talks, Inexpensive Chic, and The Wayne State University student paper: The South End. When she’s not writing you can find her eating pizza, binge-watching Netflix and working her day job as a magazine editor.


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