We’ve got another case of Forever 21 graphic tee outrage on our hands.
This week shoppers noticed that the retailer’s “The Woman” T-shirt bears an extremely similar design to a different tee created by the L.A.-based PR agency WORD to benefit Planned Parenthood.
The agency posted a side-by-side comparison of the shirts on Instagram, noting the absence of the Swahili, Arabic, Hebrew, and Japanese versions of the word “woman” on Forever 21’s tee.
Angela Carrasco and Zoila Darton, the founders and partners of WORD, told Jezebel that they were “confused” when they found out about the controversy on Thursday.
They began selling the shirt online in late July. On its site, WORD explains that the shirt is its contribution toward the fight for better women’s healthcare in the U.S. and abroad and that it represents the agency’s belief that feminism and human rights should be intersectional. WORD donates twenty five percent of the proceeds from sales of the shirt to Planned Parenthood.
“Maybe they want to capitalize off of feminism,” Darton said. “But feminism is not new to me, it’s something that I really believe, so to see it being co-opted this way is shocking.”
Forever 21 faced even more harsh criticism from social media users.
Forever 21 deadass steals everything they sell, no originality. Their clothes represent the people who support it, bland and uncreative.
— Daddy Wink (@LordWinkins) September 15, 2017
Carrasco and Darton said that they were most upset by the fact that the sales of the Forever 21 shirt are only benefiting the retailer instead of the women’s health organization. They’re considering looking into legal options and have urged the story to donate any proceeds to Planned Parenthood.
Forever 21’s “The Woman” shirt still appeared in searches on the brand’s website as of time of writing. However, when we clicked on the shirt, we were directed back to the search page instead of to the product’s individual retail page.
Mashable has reached out to Forever 21 to ask if customers can still purchase the shirt and if they have a response to the controversy.
UPDATE Sept. 16 7:49 a.m. PT: Forever 21 provided a statement regarding the shirt:
“The shirt in question was bought from a third party source. As soon as Forever 21 was alerted to the issue, we respectfully removed it from our website. Because this product did not have trademark or IP protections, there were no red flags raised at the time of purchase.”