Fast fashion retailer H&M accused of plagiarizing work of queer Asian American knitwear designer

Swedish fast-fashion giant H&M has come under fire for allegedly copying a queer Asian American designer’s signature textured knitwear.

The controversy reportedly erupted last week and was brought to the attention of the designer, Chet Lo, who then took to Instagram to respond without naming the brand.

The alleged plagiarism centers on a pink knitwear dress included in H&M’s Cherish Waste collection, which utilizes recycled garments and other low-impact materials.

The dress in question supposedly mimics the London-based designer’s famous spiky design, which was featured in Doja Cat and SZA’s “Kiss Me More” music video.

Lo, who launched his brand amid the COVID-19 pandemic after graduating from Central Saint Martins, also counts Kylie Jenner, Dua Lipa and Willow Smith as some of his fans.

“As a small brand and queer POC independent designer, I have worked incredibly hard to produce something that was based off my heritage, and facilitated something I felt I had to say in the industry,” the 25-year-old designer wrote in response to the controversy. “I have always based my designs around my own personal experiences and I feel that it can be seen in my work.

“These fast fashion companies consistently replicate works of smaller and more creative designers, but at the end of the day, authenticity, originality, and creativity can never be reproduced,” he continued.

British American designer Harris Reed was reportedly among the first to accuse H&M of plagiarizing Lo’s work, calling the brand’s actions “truly disgusting” in a now-expired Instagram Story. Fashion watchdog Diet Prada followed through with a lengthy Instagram post, noting that Lo’s “unique world view [sic]” is something “a soulless mega retailer like H&M can’t hope to encompass.”

In his statement, Lo also stated that each piece ordered through his website “is hand-knitted with love and care and not mass-produced just to make profits.”

Over the years, H&M has been accused of plagiarizing the designs of various brands, from Sadboys Gear to Thrasher. As of this writing, the company has yet to respond to the allegations.

Feature Image via Chet Lo (left), H&M (right)

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