Fashion and jewelry designer OHT has called out Forever 21 for copying their designs after customers sent the New York City-based brand photos and videos of similar necklaces found in-store and online.
In an Instagram post last week, OHTNYC founder and designer Jinsol Woo and his business partner Lin Ye demanded Forever 21 take responsibility and apologize for creating jewelry that resembled their products.
“We have been selling our Pearl Cross Necklace since January, 2021, and recently @forever21 released a ‘Cross Pendant Faux Pearl Necklace’ which mimics our EXACT design,” OHTNYC wrote. “Hours were spent by our team brainstorming, perfecting, and making this design a reality. Each of our items are designed with utmost detail, and we create all of our designs with love and care. So it’s sad to see our design, which we began making by hand in New York for almost two years, reduced to a mass produced copy most likely made in unethical, fast fashion sweat shops.”
Side-by-side images sent to NextShark show the resemblance between OHTNYC’s and Forever 21’s designs:
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The controversy went viral after rapper Doja Cat, one of OHTNYC’s biggest supporters, accused Forever 21 on her Twitter page of stealing from the brand.
“Stop f*cking stealing from small businesses it’s pathetic,” Doja Cat tweeted. “These people are my friends and all y’all do is leech. Do better how f*cking embarrassing.
OHTNYC has also become widely popular among K-pop idols, including ITZY vocalist Lia, Stray Kids rapper Felix and Aespa singer Karina, to name a few.
“Jin has amassed a really large and loyal social media following as well, going viral for his story and background coming from Korea speaking no english and having less than $20 in his pocket to now working on releasing music and clothing,” Ye said of Woo, who had been bartending everyday until 5 a.m. to help fund his business during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I’m extremely proud of him and the hard work it took for the brand to get to where it is.”
Woo and Ye, who met through mutual friends about two years ago, want Forever 21 to offer a genuine apology and stop taking ideas from small designers.
This is not the first time Forever 21 has been accused of stealing designs. A California fashion designer accused the Los Angeles-based company of copying one of her tie-dye shirts and selling it for half the price in 2020, Insider reported.
NextShark reached out to Forever 21 and its parent company, Authentic Brands Group, several times regarding OHTNYC’s case, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
A spokesperson for the company told NextShark in an email: “We sincerely regret that this happened and want to stress that it was never our intention to emulate the work of another designer. This specific design was sourced from a third-party vendor, however, once this was brought to our attention, the item was immediately removed from our website and stores. We deeply respect and work to uphold design integrity and will continue to review our internal processes with both our teams and vendors to ensure that this does not happen again.”
Featured Image via OHTNYC