Is This Double Standards Or The Right Move?


he fast fashion comapny, Shein, is built on speed and affordability, but is this coming at the expense of creativity and originality? The recent lawsuit by H&M (short for Hennes & Mauritz) seems to suggest this. H&M is a multinational clothing retailer based in Sweden. The brand is one of the largest clothing retailers in the world, with over 4,700 stores in more than 60 countries. It’s known for its fast fashion model, which means it produces clothing quickly and cheaply, to keep up with the latest trends.

Let’s see why fast-fashion company H&M sued Shein

H&M sued Shein, the Chinese fast fashion retailer (e-tailer), and its ex-parent company Zoetop Business, on the grounds of copyright infringement. This lawsuit against Shein continues to raise serious questions about intellectual property and the ethical implications of copying designs, amid other accusations leveled at Shein. If fast fashion brands are allowed to steal from one another without repercussions, where does that leave the artists and designers who create these original looks? Are we sacrificing creativity and innovation for the sake of quick and cheap clothing?

Why’s H&M raising eyebrows?

Specifically, H&M says Shein has copied many of its designs. Although Shein has been thrown multiple lawsuits from independent designers, this is the first time a big company has filed a lawsuit on Shein. The designs were allegedly sold on Shein’s website at prices much lower than H&M’s, which the company argues harms its reputation and business. The allegations of copying go back several years, with H&M claiming Shein began copying its designs a long time ago. However, it wasn’t until recently that an H&M spokesman confirmed filing a lawsuit. The spokesman claims the issue has been brewing for a while. The first hearing happened on the 21st of June, 2023 at the Hong Kong High Court, and the next hearing is scheduled for the 31st of July.

Amidst all these accusations and lawsuits, it’s also ironic to find out that H&M has also been accused of copying designs from smaller designers on several occasions. After the accusations were made public, H&M responded saying the designs were a “coincidence” and not intentional copying. The fact that H&M has been accused of the same offense they are suing Shein for shows how complicated and two-faced the issue of copyright infringement can be. It also raises questions about the double standards that can exist in the fashion industry. After all, Shein is a much smaller company than H&M, and yet they are being held to a higher standard. It’s an interesting case to consider from a legal and ethical perspective.

It’s likely that as the popularity of Shein has grown, H&M became increasingly concerned about the alleged copying and possibility of running out of business. Shein has become one of the world’s most popular fast fashion brands, and H&M is probably worried its designs are being overshadowed by Shein’s lower prices and wide reach. The issue of copyright infringement has also been a recurring problem for Shein, and the company has faced numerous accusations of stealing designs from various designers and indulging in child labor. This has caused significant controversy and negative publicity for the brand. One of the main allegations against Shein is that they have a culture that encourages the theft of intellectual property. According to reports, Shein has been known to offer cash rewards or incentives to users who submit designs eventually sold on their website. This practice has raised serious concerns about the company’s commitment to respecting intellectual property rights, and has led to accusations that Shein is indirectly endorsing and profiting from design theft.

Moreover, Shein’s fast-paced production and rapid release of new products has raised questions about the source of their designs. Some critics argue that the company’s quick turnaround time for trendy items suggests they might be replicating designs from other designers, rather than coming up with original creations. Due to these practices, Shein has faced widespread criticism from the fashion community, designers, and consumers alike. Accusations of copyright infringement and design theft have tarnished the brand’s reputation and led to increased scrutiny of its business practices.

Since Shein hasn’t responded to the lawsuit, we can’t help but speculate that H&M is worried about increasing competition in the fast fashion space. And still I can’t help but wonder whether H&M’s legal move against Shein is a sanctimonious move?

Featured image: Unsplash/PSKSlayer

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A creative writer with a voracious appetite for fashion, beauty, lifestyle and culture. As one who’s passionate about the advancement of the woman, creating content that inspire smart style and living, and positive lifestyle changes is a calling I take seriously. At Style Rave, we aim to inspire our readers by providing engaging content to not just entertain but to inform and empower you as you ASPIRE to become more stylish, live smarter and be healthier. Follow us on Instagram @StyleRave_ ♥

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