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Fashion Nova Removes Dress After Hanifa Copying Accusations

Anifa Mvuemba didn't name the fast-fashion retailer in her viral tweet about the alleged knockoff, but commenters were quick to call it out.
Anifa Mvuemba-Copyright-Fashion-Nova

Fashion Nova has once again found itself in hot water after seemingly ripping off another brand's design. This time, it's being accused of copying Black-owned knitwear brand Hanifa

On Monday, Hanifa Founder and Creative Director Anifa Mvuemba took to Twitter to share images of one of her dresses alongside a screenshot of an e-commerce page featuring a strikingly similar piece. "Only because this sample took me monthssss to perfect. This is actually crazy. I'm not going to tag or mention them. But this is crazy," she wrote. 

The now-viral tweet kept the copycat's name anonymous, but commenters were quick to call out Fashion Nova as the offender. Mvuemba declined to comment for this article.

The item in question was Fashion Nova's Sahara Sweater Maxi Dress, which features the same silhouette, sheer sections and jagged color-blocking as Hanifa's Jax Knit Gown. What sets them apart (aside from, presumably, fabric and overall quality) is the discrepancy in price: Fashion Nova's $49.99 piece is a significant markdown from Hanifa's $459 price tag. The original version is currently sold out on Hanifa's site. 

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From Washington, D.C., Mvuemba has built a business on loyal customers, without relying on approval from industry gatekeepers, while also working outside of a major fashion city. In the last decade, shea has become well-known for her bold, modern, body-hugging designs and innovative runway concepts. Despite Hanifa's success, the brand is relatively small compared to a fast-fashion giant like Fashion Nova.

Hanifa-Fashion-Show

Customers and Hanifa fans were quick to amplify Mvuemba's tweet and share their frustration and outrage over the incident and Fashion Nova's ongoing pattern of taking a little too much inspiration from other designers. At press time, the tweet had 21.9K retweets and 3,202 quote tweets.

This is far from the first time Fashion Nova's been accused of design theft. The Los Angeles-based company has even been called out for copying independent Black designers, specifically. In July 2018, designer Jai Nice of Kloset Envy exposed the brand for allegedly stealing her work; in 2019 Luci Wilden of Knots and Vibes caught Fashion Nova selling a piece identical to her Skin Out Dress, released in 2017.

While Fashion Nova hasn't commented publicly on the controversy, the outpour of negative comments was seemingly effective: As of Tuesday afternoon, the Sahara Sweater Maxi Dress product page had disappeared from the fast-fashion retailer's site. 

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