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Zara May Have Stolen Over 40 Designs From Indie Artists

A comparison of Zara products with ones made by indie artists. (Courtesy of Shop Art Theft)
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Last week we reported that local indie artist Tuesday Bassen was accusing Zara of stealing her designs for patches and pins. Now, her case is getting even stronger as another artist, Adam J. Kurtz, has uncovered more instances in which Zara products look suspiciously similar to ones made by indie designers. He's even started a website called Shop Art Theft that focuses on the whole situation, and has been cataloguing his discoveries across a number of social platforms, including Instagram:

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It looks like artists aside from Bassen may have a bone to pick with Zara. As suggested at Shop Art Theft, small-scale designers and retailers like Coucou Suzette, Mokuyobi, and Mean Folk have products that were possibly ripped off by Zara. Bassen claims that, to count, the Spanish fashion chain may have stolen at least 40 designs from different designers. Six of those designs are from her own portfolio.

In an earlier message sent to Bassen, representatives for Zara told the artists that the similarities were incidental: "[The] lack of distinctiveness of your client's purported designs makes it very hard to see how a significant part of the population anywhere in the world would associate the signs with Tuesday Bassen."

On the Shop Art Theft website, Kurtz rejects the claim that the similarities are mere coincidences:

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.

Though some of the themes maybe be simple shapes or icons, Zara's replications are near-identical, and the massive scale of this theft from a tight-knit creative scene implies a conscious choice by Zara, Bershka, Pull&Bear, Stradivarius and the parent company Inditex to not bother making significant modifications.

As noted at Jezebel, while Bassen is putting forth money to mount a legal action, she and Kurtz are also discouraging people from donating to their cause:

This is not the first time that the fashion giant has been associated with plagiarism. In 2011, Zara's parent group Inditex had to pull a number of shirts from their stores after accusations saying that it had stolen images of various fashion bloggers and printed them on t-shirts, reports The Daily Mail.

LAist has reached out to both Bassen and Zara for comments. We will provide updates as soon as we hear back from them.

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Update [9:07 a.m. July, 26]:

Bassen told LAist that the artists involved are “considering legal options as a group.” Though, at the moment, she is acting alone in her legal battle. She also reiterated her stance of turning down donations: “I don't feel comfortable accepting money for many reasons, but primarily because I know there are many other charities that are more worthy. If you feel compelled to support the artists that have experienced [intellectual property] theft at the hands of Zara, I suggest publicly talking about the issue.”

Correction: A former headline said that Zara may have stolen from more than 30 artists. It is more accurate to say that it may have stolen 40-plus designs from different artists.