We've Been Ripped Off By Wet Seal August 02 2016
A few days ago we were notified by a customer of Strange Ways that one of our exclusive designs was being sold as a knock-off at popular retailer Wet Seal. The Oh Yeah patch we released in collaboration with illustrator Vaughn Fender not just inspired Wet Seal's, but was (allegedly) literally copied from the patch we put out. It is the same artwork, medium, and colors—right down to the white twill base we chose for this item.
Adding more blow to the situation, the same patch design was knocked off and sold at two separate Etsy shops—Craft Applique and Craft Supplies World. Making things even weirder: the same level of quality to each patch seems to vary. It would be easy to blame one main manufacturer for selling the design to multiple outlets, but with varying degrees of quality the whole situation is confusing.
However, it does bring up the issue of just where do big retailers like Wet Seal buy their product from? If it's not in-house designs, are they just sourcing from a random catalog of items? The originality of big, fast-fashion corporations is thrown out the window when you seem examples like this, and I hope it makes more people want to shop at small businesses and independent outlets. This has become a big issue in the last few weeks after it was revealed 40+ designs from independent designers (many whom we carry at Strange Ways) were ripped off by Zara alone.
To make it clear, any item we sell at Strange Ways (that is not vintage stock) is bought directly from artists, created ourselves, or we work with artists to create exclusive items while compensating them appropriately.
If you'd like to support the original Oh Yeah patch, we've worked with Vaughn Fender again to reprint this sold out item. You can purchase it here, with delivery in 3-4 weeks.
Since finding out about this, Vaughn has reached out to all 3 parties selling this ripped off artwork and luckily they've taken down the patches (online). No news on whether Vaughn will be paid royalties for his stolen artwork. Check back here for any updates.