You read that headline right. Luxury fashion brand Isabel Marant is trying to claim Oaxaca’s indigenous designs that are part of the area’s rich cultural history. Born in 1967 in Paris to a German mother and French father, Isabel Marant is far from any part of that history.
Racked writes that designer Isabel Marant “is reportedly looking to copyright a design that is native to Oaxaca and force the state’s residents to pay fees in order to sell it, according to Vogue UK. Marant was met with accusations of plagiarism over the embroidered blouses, which were a part of her spring/summer 2015 collection, earlier this year and in court admitted that the designs originated from Oaxaca.”
Vogue reports that the existence of this document to patent the Oaxacan designs, “or its content, has not yet been confirmed by the French authorities, but for its part, the Isabel Marant label has denied any such patent exists.”
“The document is said to suggest that Isabel Marant and another French company, Antik Batik, own the patent to the embroided blouses – and that the Mexican community of Oaxaca will need to pay copyright fees in order to sell them, which understandably has enraged the local people. This follows an initial story in June, in which the two French companies were accused of plagiarism in respect of embroidered blouses which took inspiration from the country’s artisanal designs,” writes Vogue writer Lauren Milliigan.
We’ve written about cultural rip-offs and racism in fashion before, a trend that seems to be happening faster as the speed of fashion leaves designers bereft of time to be quiet and create. But with no slow down in sight, is this just de rigueur for the industry?