‘Hard work reduced to a machine made copy’: Indie brand claims Shein stole its sweater design

'There are real people who are impacted when our designs are stolen.'


Alexandra Samuels

Internet Culture

Published Jul 17, 2021   Updated Jul 21, 2021, 10:17 am CDT

The creative director of Nigerian crochet brand Elexiay came forward on Friday accusing fashion retailer Shein of stealing her work. 

Elyon Adede tweeted: “Spent hours designing and brainstorming this design and it takes days to crochet each sweater. It’s quite disheartening to see my hard work reduced to a machine made copy.”

Adede told The Daily Dot that seeing her team’s designs “blatantly copied by a huge corporation is disheartening.”

“Shein is known for its unethical labor practices, which is the opposite of what I stand for,” she said in a statement. “My company employs an all-female team of artisans and we work incredibly hard to deliver the best quality possible in our designs. I wanted to make a statement to raise awareness and educate our customers and the public that there are real people who are impacted when our designs are stolen.” 

In response to her original tweet, several users piled onto Shein; one said the retailer is “overall garbage,” while another commented that people who shop there should be embarrassed

The sweater appears to have been removed from Shein’s website, but this is not the first time the retailer has been accused of stealing.

Last month, designer Mariama Diallo said both Shein and WeWoreWhat stole an exact design from her Sincerely Ria brand. Prior to that, Shein reportedly stole from Emma Warren Design, according to the Independent

As a result, several people have called for shoppers to boycott Shein—but to little avail. The China-based company raked in close to $10 billion in revenue last year, and is touted as the future of fast fashion. On top of that, the retailer is one of the most talked about brands on social media and one of the most visited clothing and apparel sites in the world, Vox reports. 

The Daily Dot was unable to reach Shein for comment.

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*First Published: Jul 17, 2021, 10:12 am CDT