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Over the years, we've covered plenty of pretty egregious examples of design theft from fast fashion brands, but this one might take the cake: Asos has been accused of ripping off indie designer Laurie Lee Burley of Laurie Lee Leather after visiting her showroom during London Fashion Week.
Burley Instagramed a side-by-side comparison of her original jacket, which is sold at Selfridges, with Asos's knockoff, which in and of itself is fairly damning. From the broken heart to the block lettering and the lightning bolts, it's a spot-on (if not cheap-looking) copy of Burley's handmade jacket, which retails for £599. "IMA JUST GONNA LEAVE THIS HERE @asos and remind you that I remember you coming to London Fashion Week Designer Showrooms and photographing my stuff - including this very jacket that was on display [sic]," Burley writes in her caption.
The showrooms to which she is referring is the area the British Fashion Council sets up for up-and-coming labels at the main show venue. It's a great place to discover new talent and chat with designers about their work. Burley's booth was pretty hard to miss: Set up right at the entrance, her brightly painted leather jackets with phrases like "So not yours" and "Girl Almighty" had plenty of people stopping to check out her line — including, apparently, people from Asos.
Asos's official Instagram commented on Burley's second post, saying, "Hi Laurie - Thanks for bringing this to our attention. ASOS takes IP concerns very seriously. Please DM us with your contact email address, and the relevant team will be in touch as soon as they can." Lee responded that she had reached out to the company via Facebook, Twitter and phone, but had yet to hear from anyone.
It's discouraging to see rising talent like Burley get knocked off by retailers like Asos. It's even more discouraging that they might do so as openly as this. We have reached out to representatives of Asos and Laurie Lee Leather, and will update with any further information.
UPDATE, Weds. 4/19, 3:00 P.M.: Asos has responded, telling Fashionista, "We take IP concerns extremely seriously and immediately took the jacket off our site while we investigate further."
Laurie Lee Burley has also responded with the following:
"As of yet, I have not heard back from the Asos legal department. The press teams who look after their social accounts have made contact and all have of my details. I am now awaiting their response. It's obviously a really disappointing and frustrating situation. IP Infringement seems to be a common problem within the industry at the moment as the Tuesday Bassen Vs Zara case proved. I'm yet another small independent designer whose work is being stolen by multinational fashion distributors such as Asos. In a world of 'fast fashion', originality and creativity is being trampled upon without consequence. Enough is enough. These big brands must be held accountable for their actions. My brand may be small but I won't allow it to be consumed by the greed of big business fashion."