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Pretty Little Thing apologizes after "stealing" t-shirt designs from an emerging independent brand


Pretty Little Thing apologized after being called on to sell t-shirts that looked strikingly similar to those of an independent British label.

The fast fashion retailer sold three different designs that were similar to the smaller Do Not Subverge (DNS) brand that launched in February.

The 23-year-old co-founder of DNS, Sean Hagan, publicly criticized PLT for replicating his designs in an Instagram post and said he felt they had become a “cogwheel in the fast fashion wheel”.

After DNS highlighted the similarities on Instagram, a Pretty Little Thing executive apologized in a message to DNS co-founder Harvey Diack and confirmed that the t-shirts had been discontinued.

The t-shirts were sold on Pretty Little Thing's website (image), but were removed when DNS complained on Instagram

Major fashion brand Pretty Little Thing (PLT) has apologized after selling £ 10 t-shirts with designs that resemble independent Do Not Subverge (DNS) brand. Left picture: Original DNS design and on the right the apparent copy listed on the PLT website

The t-shirts were sold on Pretty Little Thing's website until the end of last week, but were removed after DNS called them up on Instagram

The t-shirts were sold on Pretty Little Thing's website until the end of last week, but were removed after DNS called them up on Instagram

Your message was: “Thank you for making me aware of this. I can only apologize for myself and the brand. Just to let you know that we have disabled this on the website and it is no longer available for purchase. & # 39;

Pretty Little Thing is owned by Boohoo, which is currently involved in allegations affecting some of its suppliers of "modern slavery" and not protecting workers against corona viruses.

Mr. Hagan told FEMAIL that a friend informed him about Pretty Little Thing's strikingly similar designs last week after they were put up for sale on the company's website.

He told FEMAIL that his version of the t-shirts cost £ 20 and sold for £ 45 each. They have already been modeled by celebrities such as footballers Dele Alli and Ben Chilwell and influencer Georgia May Heath.

After looking at himself, Mr. Hagan said he and Mr. Diack found that Pretty Little Thing actually sold three t-shirts with designs that were remarkably similar to those of their brand.

Another PLT design

The original version

Another design on the back (left) used the same red text, but with the repetition of & # 39; Be Kind & # 39; instead of & # 39; Do Not Subverge & # 39; as seen on the original (right).

A forward-facing original design with light blue text and smaller red letters also appears to have been copied. In the picture: DNS original

Copycat t-shirt from PLT

A forward-facing original design with light blue text and smaller red letters also had a remarkable resemblance to a PLT t-shirt on sale. Pictured: The DNS (left) and PLT version (right)

& # 39; One of our friends shocked sent us a message and sent us a picture of the t-shirt and we were like "wow" and then we went on and found that they did two others.

"It's all based on one of our designs – they made three different products out of it." PLT has now removed the designs from its website.

Screenshots from before the PLT site entries were removed show a model wearing a “Please do not disturb” T-shirt with wavy red text on the back – an almost identical design to DNS.

On the same t-shirt, Pretty Little Thing also reflected the light blue text below the main red line, although different wording was used.

Another design on the back used the same red text, but with the repetition of the expression "Be friendly" instead of "Don't infiltrate".

After DNS highlighted the similarities on Instagram, a Pretty Little Thing executive apologized in a message to his co-founder, Harvey Diack. Pictured: DNS's Instagram post

After DNS highlighted the similarities on Instagram, a Pretty Little Thing executive apologized in a message to his co-founder, Harvey Diack. Pictured: DNS's Instagram post

A forward-facing original design with light blue text and smaller red letters also seems to have remarkable similarities.

Mr. Hagan said: "You copied exactly the same line length, indents, positions, everything."

After they were made aware of the alleged copying, Mr. Hagan and Mr. Diack criticized Pretty Little Thing in a post on Do Not Subverge's Instagram account.

They said their designs had become a "cogwheel of the fast fashion wheel" and were upset to be associated with a company that "so little respects the creativity of independent designers."

They added: & # 39; The cheap, mass-produced replica costs £ 10, which is only a fraction of our production costs. This not only massively undermines our product, but also connects us to a brand that stands for everything we reject. & # 39;

Mr. Hagan, who studied graphic design at Nottingham Trent University before founding his company, told FEMAIL that he was using a "local" print shop in Greenwich, south London, to make the t-shirts.

The DNA designs were modeled by celebrities and influencers with whom Mr. Diack is friends. Pictured: Tottenham and the English player Dele Alli

Leicester City and England left-back Ben Chilwell

The DNA designs were modeled by celebrities and influencers with whom Mr. Diack is friends. Pictured: English international Dele Alli (left) and Ben Chilwell (right) are wearing the T-shirts

Georgia May Heath, who has almost 200,000 followers on Instagram, has modeled DNS's t-shirts

Georgia May Heath, who has almost 200,000 followers on Instagram, has modeled DNS's t-shirts

He added that he and his business partner had "long" tested the t-shirt used for the designs to make sure it was "of the best quality".

& # 39; It is definitely not cheap. It costs twice as much as they sold. After production costs and postage, it is £ 21 for us, ”said Hagan.

Mr. Hagan said he is now concerned that the upcoming launch of his company's new collection, which uses the same back design as the ones mentioned above, could be affected by the connection with Pretty Little Thing.

"It devalues ​​our premium product, they sell their product for £ 10 and we can't even make them for it," he said. “People may now go to the website and see that they cost £ 45 and don't want to pay. (But) we have high quality materials and good design.

“I don't want people to think that our idea is at its level if it is far superior. There is a lot of creativity and thought behind it. & # 39;

The DNA designs were modeled by celebrities and influencers with whom Mr. Diack is friends.

DNS co-founders Sean Hagan (right) and Harvey Diack model the two T-shirts that they claim PLT was ripped off

DNS co-founders Sean Hagan (right) and Harvey Diack model the two T-shirts that they claim PLT was ripped off

Mr. Hagan told FEMAIL that he believed Pretty Little Thing became aware of the designs after seeing pictures of people like Dele Alli and Ben Chilwell wearing them.

Mr. Hagan said he wanted Pretty Little Thing to compensate his company for the money they made from the designs and what he said was the "damage" to his brand.

As FEMAIL approached, PLT confirmed that the t-shirts had been removed from its website and that the images could no longer be found on Google.

Pretty Little Thing was founded in 2012 by the brothers Adam and Umar Kamani, whose father Mahmud Kamani owns Boohoo.

In May, Umar sold his share of Pretty Little Thing to his father, worth £ 324 million.

Earlier this month, Boohoo was hit by allegations of using sweatshirts in Leicester to make cheap clothing during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Sunday Times reported allegations that workers in a factory that manufactures clothing for the Boohoo brand Nasty Gal were paid only £ 3.50 an hour and worked without social distance measures.

And an employee of Faiza Fashion – a factory that allegedly makes clothes for Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing – said that the factory didn't provide face masks or gloves to its workers.

PLT had sales of £ 374m in 2018. The company is forecast to have a value of around GBP 2.1 billion by 2022.

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