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Nigerian crochet brand claims Shein stole its sweater design

Summary List PlacementA Nigerian crochet clothing brand has accused Shein of copying one of its sweater designs. The brand, Elexiay, posted side-by-side images on Instagram of its $330 Amelia sweater and a $17 sweater on Shein that share a similar cross-body pattern and long sleeves.  In the caption of the post, the brand said Shein "stole" its design and that its employees felt "crushed." "We're a small black-owned independent sustainable business," the caption read. "Before this sweater was brought to life, we spent hours designing and brainstorming both color ways and structure. After which our patterns were created." ...

The Shein sweater, left, and the Elexiay sweater, right.

Summary List Placement

A Nigerian crochet clothing brand has accused Shein of copying one of its sweater designs.

The brand, Elexiay, posted side-by-side images on Instagram of its $330 Amelia sweater and a $17 sweater on Shein that share a similar cross-body pattern and long sleeves. 

In the caption of the post, the brand said Shein “stole” its design and that its employees felt “crushed.”

“We’re a small black-owned independent sustainable business,” the caption read. “Before this sweater was brought to life, we spent hours designing and brainstorming both color ways and structure. After which our patterns were created.”

“Our artisans, all women in Nigeria, spend 4-5 days crocheting such beautiful piece of art. It’s quite disheartening to see such talent and hard work reduced to a machine made copy,” the brand wrote.

“We urge @sheinofficial @shein_us to look at the true costs of their actions and take this off their website,” the caption went on to say.

Shein’s sweater appears to have been removed from its website after Elexiay posted to social media. Representatives for Shein did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

Shein is not the first fast-fashion brand to be accused of stealing designs in recent months. 

WeWoreWhat founder Danielle Bernstein has been accused of copying multiple designers throughout her career, and a California designer who specializes in tie-dye pieces said Forever 21 took one of her designs in September 2020.

In June, the designer Mariama Diallo of Sincerely Ria made a TikTok in which she accused Shein of stealing the design of one of her dresses. The TikTok has over one million views to date. Diallo did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

@itsmariamadiallo

So heartbroken right now. I pour my heart into @sincerelyria.xo just for huge corporations to steal and make millions. How can I even compete smh.

♬ happier – Olivia Rodrigo

https://www.tiktok.com/embed.js

“As an independent, sustainable business, seeing our designs blatantly copied by a huge corporation is disheartening,” Elyon Adede, the creative director of Elexiay, told Insider. “Even more so in this case since Shein is known for its unethical labor practices, which is the opposite of what I stand for.”

“My company employs an all-female team of artisans and we work incredibly hard to deliver the best quality possible in our designs,” Adede went on to say.

“I wanted to make a statement to bring raise awareness and educate our customers and the public that there are real people who are impacted when our designs are stolen,” she added.

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