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Forever 21: Print theft in fashion?

Moriah Carlson and Alice Wu are seeing double. The two designers for theNew York City-based women’s wear line “Feral Childe” are suing Forever21 for what they say is copyright infringement of one of their signaturepatterns.

Moriah Carlson and Alice Wu are seeing double. The two designers for the New York City-based womenswear line “Feral Childe” are suing Forever 21 for what they say is copyright infringement of one of their signature patterns.

Wu, 37, of Oakland, Calif., met Carlson, 37, of Boerum Hill, when the two studied at the New York Studio School in Greenwich Village.

The pair said it took months to painstakingly perfect the design for the pattern “TeePee” for their fall 2009 collection. But this May, they saw their hard work for sale in Forever 21 stores across the nation.

“I was in the Atlantic Avenue subway station and I saw this girl in a cute outfit,” recalled Carlson. “As she walked toward me, I saw my print, but not my garment. I just couldn’t believe it.”



Forever 21 charged between $15 and $22 for garments using the allegedly pilfered print, a far cry from the $60 to $375 price Feral Childe traditionally retails for in the boutiques where their clothing is sold.

“I know everyone likes a bargain,” said Wu. “But there’s a reason for what things cost — there’s so much work that goes into creating a garment.”

For its part, a Forever 21 spokesman claims the alleged theft wasn’t on its hands— the retailer purchased the clothing with the print from a third party.

“As soon as we received the inquiry we removed the item from our inventory and contacted our vendor,” the spokesman said.

Feral Childe is hoping to take the case to trial to recoup profits from sales.

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“I don’t feel focused on the money — I want justice,” said Carlson.

Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @EmilyatMetro.

 
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