Fast Fashion Companies Should Copy Supply Chains, Not Designs

by: Well Made Clothes Staff | 3 weeks ago | News

Image: Veja's organic cotton harvest in Ceará, Brazil. Image source.

Earlier this month, British high street store Primark found itself in hot water over £7 'counterfeit' versions of Veja's sustainable sneakers. Primark’s fast fashion copycats were strikingly similar to the cult shoes – but in appearance only. Boasting a matching red heel tab, perforated front feature and rubber sole, Primark’s knock offs may look a lot like Vejas, but unlike the French sneakers, they are not sustainably made in a transparent supply chain. 

This caused Veja co-founder Sébastien Kopp to call Primark out on Instagram, saying that the retailer “got it wrong. They should not copy the style of our shoes, they should copy the way we do them,” wrote Kopp. “With organic cotton, with recycled plastic, with more ecological fabrics, in factories where workers are paid decently, and we are working in secure conditions.”

This raises an interesting argument about fashion’s copycat culture – which has existed for decades, but generally revolves around aesthetic trends only. If copycat culture is to be an inevitable part of the modern fashion industry, then perhaps big brands should spend their energy copying ethical supply chains, rather than designs.

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What @veja said: '@primark got it wrong, they should not copy the style of our shoes, they should copy the way we do them'.

A post shared by Well Made Clothes (@wellmadeclothes_) on Apr 2, 2019 at 2:14pm PDT

While it may have become increasingly ‘trendy’ to wear Veja sneakers over recent years, this isn’t just because of the way they look; it is because of the ethics behind the sneakers. Veja’s sustainable ethos and transparent supply chain has inspired both Meghan Markle and Emma Watson to endorse the brand. And yet big brands like Primark still can’t quite grasp the cultural capital of ethical fashion.

A spokesperson for Primark told FEMAIL: “We note the recent comments made by Veja. We work hard to offer our customers the most up-to-date looks on the high street and like many of our lines, this shoe is part of a wider trend identified by our buying team.” But what the retailer failed to recognise is that this “wider trend” is actually for ethically produced fashion – not just perforated sneakers. Now threatened with legal action over the Veja copycats, Primark may be about to realise the difference.

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