Add New York-based artist Shantell Martin to the increasingly long list of artists and designers who claim that they’ve had their work stolen by a major retailer.
Earlier this week, retailer Lane Bryant debuted a new line of clothes aimed at younger audiences. On Instagram, Lane Bryant shared a photograph of model Barbie Ferreira wearing the t-shirt which reads “You Are You.” They also shared the design with a caption that reads “Authentic. Unapologetic.” and points users to the retailer’s website. Many have noted the ironic usage of “authentic” in a design allegedly stolen from an independent artist.
Commenters were quick to notice that the text and font were familiar, in part because they share a striking resemblance to Martin’s work. A quick look through Martin’s Instagram shows that she’s been using the phrase, and variations on it, rendered in her signature bold black and white designs for quite some time. On her website, Martin describes her work as a “meditation on lines” and “part autobiographical.”
In a post on Facebook, Martin shared one of Lane Bryant’s Instagram pictures and wrote “Stolen! I did not give permission to this brand to take/use my stuff.” She asked her followers to demand that Lane Bryant remove her design from both social media and the new clothing line. The graphic tee that bears an almost precise rendering of Martin’s design is currently available on the retailer’s website for $29.50. According to the description, the design on the t-shirt is a “hand-drawn screen-printed artwork.”
Large retailers stealing the work of independent artists seems to be a bit of a trend as of late. Zara has been accused by many indie accessory designers of stealing their work, as has Anthropologie. Lane Bryant has yet to respond to Martin’s allegations and, if precedent is any indication, it’s unlikely that they will.
Update: Lane Bryant has deleted the design from their Instagram account and removed the t-shirt from their website but have not issued a statement. As a point of comparison, here’s a screenshot of the design in question.