You know, when a plus-size brand makes copies of runway fashion, or designers that only go up to a size 14, I’m pretty sanguine about it. It’s not the best situation, but if regular retailers aren’t going to make clothes in a wide variety of sizes, then more power to the plus-size stores for making fashion available to fat people.
What I don’t condone is a plus size chain store ripping off a smaller, independent plus size designer.
Kiki of Why, Kiki, Why? broke the story here, but I felt I had to chime in.
Here is City Chic’s Bumba top, a part of their current Spanish Rose Collection:
And here is Jibri’s Plus Size Ruffle Front Halter:
Eerily similar, don’t you think?
I contacted City Chic via their contact form to complain – I know that technically designers can’t copyright their products, but I was (and am) so angry that I wasn’t thinking super-clearly:
I am frankly appalled to discover that City Chic has blatantly lifted a design from a small, independent plus-size manufacturer. Your Button Bumba top is an obvious rip off of Jibri’s plus size ruffle front halter (http://www.etsy.com/listing/50369223/jibri-plus-size-ruffle-front-halter). I will not shop at stores that participate in the theft of small designers’ intellectual property.
Kind regards, Zoe (www.axisoffat.com)
I didn’t hold high hopes of getting a particularly interested response, and I was right:
Thank you for contacting City Chic customer care. Your concerns have been sent through to our buying and supply team and they will look into this further.
While I’m heartened that they might actually forward this on to their buying and design team, the official response from City Chic’s facebook page doesn’t fill me with hope:
City Chic Hi Jen,
Yeah, as Sarah said, all designs are copied… Our buying team set out to different locations around the world, and check out what’s happening in the fashion world with trends, and upcoming must-have-items… It’s not about stealing… credit from other designers, it’s here for you to have, not only for plus sized ladies to wear, but at a fraction of the price!!!!
Hope this answered your question!
♥ CC, x
It’s this comment that makes me want to facepalm so badly. Because here’s the deal: Jibri charges $90.00 for a custom-made garment. City Chic? $79.95. For mass-produced garment. Which, if you were buying internationally (and City Chic does seem to be trying to crack the international market), would actually be more than Jibri’s price, thanks to the cost of international shipping and the strong Australian dollar.
The comment about “credit from other designers” leaves a nasty taste in my mouth, given that there was no credit whatsoever given to Jasmine, the designer of Jibri.
City Chic might think it’s appropriate to copy from small, independent, plus-size designers, but I don’t. And that’s why I won’t be shopping there from now on. If you value supporting small businesses, up-and-coming designers and high-quality, well-priced fashion, I highly encourage you to vote with your wallet and take your business elsewhere.
As Kiki and Derryn would say: Shame, City Chic, shame.