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Wesley Berryman only debuted at New York Fashion Week with his Spring 2017 collection nine months ago, but the Savannah College of Art and Design graduate has already become an industry darling among the unisex fashion scene. He's made devoted fans out of Lady Gaga, FKA Twigs, Bella Hadid and Farren Fucci, his goth-tinged pieces appearing on the too-cool pages of Paper and in front of 8.7 million viewers on "Saturday Night Live." Topshop, it seems, has even taken note: On Wednesday, Twitter user Liron Eini pointed out that the British high-street retailer appears to have ripped off Berryman's signature lace-up jacket and trousers.
This, unfortunately, feels particularly egregious, if only because it's Berryman's lace-up designs that have attracted the most industry attention, most memorably appearing throughout Hadid's much-shared Paper editorial.
Though Berryman's original items aren't currently available to purchase online, Topshop's trousers — made of 98 percent cotton and 2 percent elastane — retail for $100.
The jacket version isn't available on Topshop's website, but fast-fashion mega-brand promoted it on Instagram as recently as June 12.
It's easy to note the similarities between the two, including the same oversize silhouettes, white contrast stitching and chunky white lace detailing. Berryman hasn't yet addressed these claims on his brand's Instagram — where designers often turn to speak up about such controversies — but we've reached out to his team for comment. A representative for Topshop was also not immediately available for comment.
This comes in the midst of a particularly ripe time for such knockoffs, where bigger, more established designers are regularly being accused of profiting off of a more independent label's creativity. Just on Wednesday, two separate artists accused Gucci of stealing its labels for the house's Cruise 2018 collection, which also borrowed from iconic Harlem couturier Dapper Dan. Two weeks ago, streetwear brand PluggedNYC claimed that styles in Kylie Jenner's highly-hyped camo "drop" resemble the line's clothing — and had the literal receipts to prove it. And in the last three months, Forever 21 and Asos have also been routinely accused of stealing from an assortment of indie brands. For all, the evidence has been damning — but still, that doesn't mean such mega-retailers aren't getting away with it.
UPDATE, June 22, 11:11 a.m.: Wesley Berryman provided Fashionista with the following statement:
As an independent artist, I am absolutely devastated seeing such a huge retail chain profiting off of my ingenuity and creativity. As a member of the LGBTQ community, I am not surprised that this has happened because we live in a world where so many corporate establishments steal from minority communities to make a profit. Topshop is disgusting for participating in the fast-fashion meat machine, perpetuating the theft of independent designers, grinding up our ideas, and spitting them out into their stores. This industry is notoriously rampant with retailers and even high-end fashion houses who blatantly steal from new designers. This is partly the reason why I choose to operate my brand on the outside... focusing on injecting the industry with my art but never bending to their archaic rituals.
Topshop declined to provide a comment.