News, Culture & Society

Taylor Swift accused of ripping off black-owned fashion label

Less than a week after releasing her seventh album, Taylor Swift has already tweaked promotional merchandise after being accused of ‘stealing’ artwork from a Black-owned business.

Taylor, 30, surprised fans when she released Folklore on July 24, and simultaneously launched a merchandise collection that included a cozy cream-colored cardigan with embroidered stars and a small label reading ‘the folklore album’

But Amira Rasool, the CEO of fashion e-retailer The Folklore, quickly noticed that her brand and Taylor’s album didn’t just have a name in common: The styling of the logo was also quite similar, enough so that she accused the singer of ripping off the design.

Popular: Taylor Swift debuted her seventh studio album, Folklore, to much fanfare last week

Stuff to buy: She also released a merchandise line including this cardigan, which has a label reading 'the folklore album'

Stuff to buy: She also released a merchandise line including this cardigan, which has a label reading ‘the folklore album’

Looks familiar! But Amira Rasool, the CEO of fashion e-retailer The Folklore, accused Taylor and her team of ripping off the logo for her fashion e-retail destination, The Folklore

Looks familiar! But Amira Rasool, the CEO of fashion e-retailer The Folklore, accused Taylor and her team of ripping off the logo for her fashion e-retail destination, The Folklore

Rasool, 24, told InStyle that when she first learned the name of Taylor’s new album, she didn’t think much about the fact that it was the same as her website, since ‘folklore’ is a common enough word.

It wasn’t until a friend drew her attention to Taylor’s new merchandise, which includes clothing and tech accessories, that she noticed that the font Taylor used for the word ‘folklore’ was similar to the one she uses for her website.

Business owner: Rasool had her own logo custom-designed by Caine Casket in 2018

Business owner: Rasool had her own logo custom-designed by Caine Casket in 2018

Rasool had her own logo custom-designed by Caine Casket in 2018. 

Taylor’s merch also has the word ‘the’ written vertically along the letter ‘F’ in folklore, just as Rasool’s logo does.   

‘Initially I was so shocked,’ said the New Jersey native. ‘I’d heard of so many different Black women in particular who had been ripped off by large corporations by celebrities. And I just couldn’t believe that it was happening to me. 

‘It’s just very hard to believe that [Swift’s team] didn’t come across it,’ noting that her site is a top Google result for the word ‘folklore’. ‘And if they did come across it — which I believe they did — for them to model Taylor’s merchandise on our logo, especially having seen what our company is about, is especially disheartening to me.’   

'I'd heard of so many different Black women in particular who had been ripped off by large corporations by celebrities... I just couldn't believe that it was happening to me,' Rasool said

‘I’d heard of so many different Black women in particular who had been ripped off by large corporations by celebrities… I just couldn’t believe that it was happening to me,’ Rasool said

Accountable: Rasool decided to call Taylor out on Twitter, sharing a side-by-side comparison of the two logos

Accountable: Rasool decided to call Taylor out on Twitter, sharing a side-by-side comparison of the two logos

Rasool decided to call Taylor out on Twitter, sharing a side-by-side comparison of the two logos.

‘Wait hold up. Taylor Swift, it’s one thing to use the name “Folklore” but we’re out here stealing Black women’s logos too?’ she wrote.  

‘It’s not just about The Folklore and my feelings personally being hurt, but this is damaging to our brand’ she explained to Instyle. 

‘I had people who asked me, “Oh, did you collaborate with Taylor on these?” They just assumed that it was a collaboration because of how similar the logos are.’

She conceded that Taylor herself likely didn’t find her fashion site and copy it, but says she is still responsible because she is profiting off of it.

So she had her lawyer contact Taylor’s people — and was pleased when they moved quickly to begin to rectify the situation. 

Fixed: Taylor and her team quickly updated the merchandise to remove the word 'the' to diminish similarities

Fixed: Taylor and her team quickly updated the merchandise to remove the word ‘the’ to diminish similarities 

Much better: Rasool commended Taylor and called it 'a great first step'

Much better: Rasool commended Taylor and called it ‘a great first step’

‘My lawyer Eric Ball at Fenwick & West has been in contact with Taylor’s manager Jay Schaudies since mid-day yesterday after they received our letter expressing concern over the merchandise on Taylor’s website,’ she told InStyle.

‘Taylor’s team took swift action to have ”the” removed from all merchandise. I commend her team for recognizing the damage it caused to our brand. 

‘I recognize that Taylor has been a strong advocate for women protecting their creative rights, so it was good to see her team is on the same page. 

‘It was a great first step and we are in conversation right now with Taylor’s team about the next steps to make this situation right.’

On Taylor’s merchandise website, the logo has already been changed to exclude the word ‘the,’ though it’s unclear how that might effect merchandise that has already been produced.

Certainly some has already been shipped, and several famous Taylor Swift fans have shared photos of themselves in their own cardigans.

Among them are Halsey, Jonathan van Ness, Spencer Pratt, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Cheer coach Monica Aldama, and Kobe Bryant’s daughter Natalia. 

Several famous Taylor Swift fans have shared photos of themselves in their own cardigans

Halsey wears her cardigan

Showing support: Several famous Taylor Swift fans — including Halsey — have shared photos of themselves in their own cardigans

Serving up folklore realness! Jonathan Van Ness also wore his cardigan

Serving up folklore realness! Jonathan Van Ness also wore his cardigan

Drama: Even Spencer Pratt got one and posed for a moody photoshoot

Drama: Even Spencer Pratt got one and posed for a moody photoshoot

Twinning Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his husband Justin Mikita wore matching ones

Twinning Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his husband Justin Mikita wore matching ones

Cheer coach Monica Aldama shows off her cardigan

Kobe Byant's daughter Natalia was also excited to get hers

Cheer coach Monica Aldama shows off her cardigan (left), as does Kobe Byant’s daughter Natalia (right)

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk