This is not the first time we’ve reported on large fashion brands allegedly copying the designs of smaller independent labels. Unfortunately, it probably won’t be the last time, either.
The latest to find its work replicated is Camp Cove Swim.
Over the weekend, Camp Cove’s designer, Katherine Hampton, posted on Instagram Stories alleging that Hong Kong-based web store, Zaful, was selling replicas of her Sunburnt Eucalyptus bikini. The design appeared to look exactly like Camp Cove Swim's Northern Hemisphere 16 collection.
Hampton was originally notified about the alleged copy in June, when a fan tagged Camp Cove Swim in a sponsored post by Zaful. The image depicted a bikini which looked very similar to the Camp Cove design. In fact, it's near impossible to tell the prints apart.
“I initially felt quite shocked and was in a state of disbelief as it is such a blatant copy of our design, down to the fact that they have used the actual illustration that we commissioned for the print,” Katherine told over email.
“The shade of yellow is exactly the same as our original design, even the method of construction (which is a very specific technique) and the cut of the swimsuit are all basically exact duplicates of our original design.”
Upon learning of the bikini, Katherine immediately contacted Zaful and the product was removed from the site last month. Over the weekend, however, Katherine was again notified about another retailer, Gamiss, promoting that same Zaful bikini. The image actually clicked through to Zaful’s website, where there was an updated version of the bikini in question.
“The updated version uses the same cut, shape, colours but they have replaced our artist’s illustrations with an updated version,” Katherine says.
It’s interesting to note that Zaful actually has a ‘Legal Window’ on its site, where users can issue a takedown notice.
“Zaful operates in good faith,” the page reads.
“The purpose of this policy is to protect the associated Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) of third parties as well as those of our customers. We will respond quickly and efficiently to notices of alleged IPR infringement. However, Zaful requires your help to identify potentially IPR infringing items. As intellectual property owners are responsible for protecting their own IP and Zaful does not claim to hold legal expertise on IPR matters, both parties must necessarily cooperate on this policy.”
Camp Cove Swim is now looking at its legal options. However, as a small label, Hampton concedes this may not be a feasible option.
“We think it is important for our brand to take a strong stance on this and to lead by example for other small businesses that are being taken advantage of,” said Katherine.
“But in saying that, we will need to weigh up the costs and time involved before we push ahead with any legal action. As a very small label, it’s not only an issue of finance but also the time away from the business that will come along with any further action. Time is truly one of our most valuable assets.”