Plagiarism Is In Apparently…
Hollywood actress Eva Mendes recently released her latest collection for New York & Company. The actress has collaborated with this fashion retailer for a couple of seasons, but what makes some of the pieces in this new collection so unique is their [very obvious] similarities to pieces from Nigerian Designer Lisa Folawiyo Studio’s 2017 Isi Agu collection.
Any person that keeps an eye on Nigerian fashion knows Lisa Folawiyo. The unique prints and bejewelled designs from Lisa Folawiyo Studio [formerly Jewel By Lisa] are hard to ignore. The Isi Agu Collection debuted on the Lagos Fashion Week runway in October, 2017. The pieces featured Miss Folawiyo’s explorations of traditional Igbo prints and it’s arguably Lisa Folawiyo Studio’s most critically acclaimed collection [boasting life mannequins like Danai Gurira and even Miss Folawiyo herself].
Taking another’s intellectual property and passing it off as one’s own is nothing short of criminal, especially when one has no understanding of the origins and/or development of said property. The lifting done with Eva Mendes’ collection for New York & Company is quite blatant and this writer [a huge Lisa Folawiyo Stan] is shocked that so far, only Bella Naija has reported this – which goes to show how much we really rate our own creative culture – one instablog even reported this piece of news with ‘Great Minds Think Alike…’
These two pieces from Eva Mendes’ collection for New York & Company are a blatant copy of a Lisa Folawiyo Studio ‘17 Isi Agu piece shown below.
We all acknowledge that fashion is a never ending re-cycle of trends, cuts and print; this makes the line between inspiration and copying quite thin. And yet, we all agree that there is a line and Miss Mendes wouldn’t be the first to cross it. The plagiarism of tribal print has always been and will continue to be a problem. Recently, Dior was under fire for basically reselling traditional Bihor clothing, for well, Dior prices. Of course, the fashion house made no statement and has gotten away with selling it’s “exotic” jackets and ponchos – that won’t be the first time Dior is lifting, and I doubt it’ll be the last.
The most disturbing thing about this Lisa Folawiyo/Eva Mendes business is the fact that it’s not getting more attention. Too many times, various African cultures have been appropriated as ‘trend’ and everyone seems to be fine with it because “international attention”. No. This is theft and it is wrong. Miss Folawiyo and many others who’ve been cheated out of their creations worked hard and should be given due credit for it; I personally am in favor of legal action. Being inspired by a person’s work is admirable when executed properly, but copying is a different kettle of fish.
Dear Eva Mendes (& Co.), kindly fix up. Your actions are appalling to say the least.