UPDATE – Another Artist Alleges Forever 21 Stole his Design

Just a short day after Forever 21 came under fire for alleged illegal labor practices, yet another independent artist is accusing the international retail giant of stealing their design and slapping it on a cheap tee.


According to his Twitter account, New York based artist Jon Contino was shocked when a friend sent the link for the above tee on the left side currently being sold by Forever 21 online and in stores around the country.

Contino created the piece, with it’s distinctive scrawled text over an even more distinctive anchor design, for his wife as a token of love. Turns out she wasn’t the only one who thought it was awesome.

Now, this is not, by any stretch, the first time Forever 21 has been accused of stealing designs, patterns and intellectual property from artists, so the similarities between their tee and Contino’s art does not surprise me.

But as a consumer? Someone who has a choice in where she spends her money and can make my opinions know through that choice? This does disappoint.


As of 6pm PST, this item is no longer available online. I figured that would happen. Guess who took a screenshot, bitches?


Forever 21, WTF?


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12 Responses to UPDATE – Another Artist Alleges Forever 21 Stole his Design

  1. axl

    forever21 also has a spelling error in their ripoff shirt.

    “lauch into love”

  2. Pretty blatant copy! What shameful business practices!
    The spelling error is just classic.

  3. looks like someones getting fired….there are so many unemployed designers in america today why dont they just suck it up and hire them.

  4. Estella

    Wow its almost an exact copy,for shame Forever 21:-O

  5. neil

    If they were aware of it then there’s no excuse. To be totally fair though, Forever 21 may not have known about the original. Im a designer and spend most of my time making prints for clients similar to Forever 21. Sometimes a client will only give a vague indication of what they want – it’s then up to the designer to produce something that isn’t a total rip off.

  6. R

    The designer should immediately contact an attorney. This is so obvious that he would not have a hard time finding an attorney to take it on contingency.

    Then sue for damages (profits) because the originator is owed it. Even if F21 sold what they would call a “small” qty, the gross sales are easily into the 6 figures. They have stores everywhere.

    If a piece of art is derivative, it’s infringement – it doesn’t have to be an exact copy. If this went in front of a jury, they would see it too.

  7. jade

    I have been working for forever 21 for almost a year now, and this is just one of many cases of the same incident. I went into back stock one day and found a pile of company returns cause they were rip offs. Hell, when I worked in accessories at the woodlands location, I said they were a box of tampons away from being a wal mart knock off. So, in my opinion, they are well aware of what they’re doing.

  8. laurel

    This cracks me up because the majority of Contino’s work consists of lyrics from “Married to a Mermaid,” a song he did not write. This song itself was adapted from another song called “Rule, Britannia!” This illustrates the way art/music evolves. If we limited ourselves to only coming up with ideas that completely original, we would severely inhibit the cultivation of creativity. Yes, plagiarism is wrong, and……who would buy this shirt anyway?? But to the designer’s credit, “A good composer does not imitate; he steals.” – Igor Stravinsky

  9. KimonoDragon

    There’s a big difference between being inspired by previous works of art, and just putting someone else’s work in a t shirt and selling it. For Forever21 to help themselves to the artwork of small designers (when they can easily afford to hire them) and profit off them is unacceptable.

  10. Jaycee Grey

    Annnnnnd, they’ve done it again.


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