Cassey Ho, founder of the popular fitness brand Blogilates, recently took to social media to accuse Chinese fast fashion retailer Shein of stealing one of her skirt designs.
In an Instagram post, the 36-year-old fitness entrepreneur expressed frustration and anger after discovering that the global brand had allegedly plagiarized the design for her Pirouette Skort.
Ho posted several side-by-side comparison images pointing out the similarities between her design and the one sold by Shein.
According to Ho, she initially had conflicting emotions as she was unsure if she should be flattered or upset about being copied.
“Is this some twisted rite of fashion designer passage?” Ho wrote. “Like should I be flattered??? But it’s kinda hard to be when you were just robbed in broad daylight.”
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Commenters on Ho’s Instagram post mostly expressed support for Ho while condemning Shein for the alleged copying.
“No longer supporting @sheinofficial!!” a user wrote. “This is terrible on them. I’m sorry this happened to you.”
“This is just terrible,” another commenter chimed in. “Not only the design but the poses too. Come on!! They couldn’t have made it less obvious?”
“Omg so sorry this happened to you!” another wrote. “They’re definitely shitty for doing it to you and many others!”
In a succeeding blog post, Ho explained the process of designing the Pirouette Skort, which she featured in a viral YouTube video that generated over 26 million views.
While the skirt sold out days after release, Ho further improved the design, removing the front seam to prevent “camel toe,” lengthening the back of the skirt for more coverage and removing the elastic from the waistband to prevent pinching.
Ho highlighted the lengthy process of prototyping to ensure quality and fit. She then argued that fast fashion giants like Shein have ruined consumers’ perceptions of how long it takes to make quality clothing.
Ho released the updated Pirouette Skort on Jan. 5 with all the improvements she wanted. While it took Ho five months to perfect her design, Shein was able to release its purported copy of the skirt just a few weeks later.
Shein, which was recently valued at $64 billion, has faced several similar accusations of design theft in the past. In June 2021, designer Mariama Diallo, founder of the women’s clothing line Sincerely Ria, took to Twitter to call out the brand for copying the look and designs of her label. Meanwhile, in June 2022, Florida-based artist Magdalena Mollman filed a lawsuit against the company for over $100 million in damages for taking some of her copyright-protected work from her Instagram from 2019 to 2021 without her consent.