Almost 10 years ago, Leah McSweeney started Married to the Mob, a streetwear line for "girls that have balls, basically."
Riffing off the guys' streetwear brand Supreme, McSweeney designed a shirt emblazoned with the words "Supreme Bitch."
McSweeney grew up in New York City in the boy-dominated skater world, and says she had to "deal with this boys' club mentality." The shirt was a response to that.
"It was kind of like taking a shot back at them," she explained.
McSweeney's clothing is doing well: after Rihanna appeared in a photo wearing a Supreme Bitch hat, McSweeney said the orders really started coming in strong.
Supreme's owner, James Jebbia, is now suing McSweeney for $10 million. McSweeney said she was surprised because Jebbia actually approved the t-shirt nearly 10 years ago, and carried it in his second store, Union.
Jebbia could not be reached for comment, but he's previously told New York Magazine that while he did approve the shirt, the fact that the design has spread to hats and mugs and other items turns what he expected to be a one-off riff into "trying to build her whole brand by piggybacking" off his brand.
McSweeney has found big-league representation in a partnership between civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel and trademark lawyer Edward Rosenthal. She said she feels it's important to stick to her guns, as the message behind Mob has always been to stand up for yourself.
"I don't like being bullied," McSweeney said. "And I don't have to be, either."
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