Swimwear label Bfyne has accused Brazilian fashion designer Silvia Ulson of plagiarism after Ulson showed her latest swimwear collection at Miami Swim Week on July 12.
A representative for Bfyne told HuffPost in a statement that Ulson’s latest collection bore a striking resemblance to its own 2017 “Sahara” collection, which was inspired by the brand’s Nigerian culture.
“That was extremely important for us to execute properly. We wanted to bring sexy to dashiki print and change the way the print was being looked at, ultimately transforming it into something no one has ever seen before,” Bfyne’s rep said.
A dashiki, according to OkayAfrica, is a loose-fitting pullover that originated in West Africa as a comfortable work tunic for men. It is “recognized as being distinctively and uniquely African,” according to the site.
“We live and breathe our culture, and we made it our mission to showcase that through our designs and the dashiki print,” Bfyne’s rep added.
For reference, you can see one of Bfyne’s suits on the left and Ulson’s ― which were paired with feathered headdresses ― on the right.
“It came to us as a complete surprise how another designer is allowed to showcase replicas and claim it as her work during Miami Swim Week,” Bfyne’s rep said, adding that she and her team were “completely flabbergasted.”
The rep also called out Ulson for having models wear feather headdresses at the runway show, suggesting that the accessories were meant to ”[deceive] people to think the print and design were Native American-inspired.”
In the leadup to her presentation, Ulson shared what appear to be inspirational images for the collection on Instagram. The pictures show various color swatches, beading details and images of indigenous people of Brazil wearing traditional headdresses.”
Inspiration or theft? #fashionindustry #copyright #plagiarism #miamifashionweek #bfyne #silviaulson