Zara copy Belgian designer Toos Franken: “it is an unfair fight’

Faster, longer and for less, that seem to be the currency in which fast fashion chains are based, and it is thus not inconceivable that kledingreuzen as Zara regularly the mustard elsewhere. This time it was the Belgian designer Toos Franken, the muse of service.

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It is often said that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, but when major chains to small independent labels to copy, it is still a loss. Last year after the Antwerp juwelenmerk Studio Collect suddenly one of their designs found at COS, and lingeriekoningin Murielle Scherre of La Fille D’O her Fast Girls-bra met in the webshop of H&M, is now also the Belgian designer Toos Franken become the victim of the worst species on earth: the copycats.

See also: plagiarism in the fashion industry

Franken started in 2014 her own fashion line, consisting of feminine basics with cool colors and sleek lines. Her collections are based on classic, detailed, custom work that they recreates to wearable garments with a twist. Last year made Toos Franken its debut at the Amsterdam Fashion Week with the collection of Micro Manifesto, a collection that’s further than the borders of the country would have to take. That global success is faster than expected, because no other than the fast fashion chain Zara put the appreciation of Francs is not under chairs or sofas. The Spanish fashion brand has added recently a sweater to the current spring collection that sprékend looks like a sweater that the designer was in Amsterdam over the runway let go. Flattering? Maybe. Wraakroepend especially.

Mass production

“It’s extra unfortunate because I have just as much value attaches to the sustainable, especially for Micro Manifesto”, let the designer know. “I’m really departed from the idea of a sustainable, seizoenloze collection to make and then to see that a chain that in mass production, and inexpensive over the counter let go… that devalues everything where my design stood for.”

Zara is perhaps the most well-known copycat of all the chains. Season after season, you can for a bargain, the designs of Céline, Carven, Balmain and Fendi to score in the high street of any medium-sized city. These larger brands are especially affected in their style and their image, but smaller designers, such as Toos Franken or Studio Collect, can really be crushed by the imitatieindustrie. Not only missing them, the international customer base or brand awareness that big brands still have the cash register ring, but the customer knows that the copies buy not often that he or she has a copy to purchase, just because they are the original design never have seen.


There is then nothing to do? Clothing is in principle copyright protected when the designer’s creative choices has made the garment different from other designs on the market. A specific print or cut, for example, or – you know – oversized sleeves where you by means of zippers extra volume can create. In principle, Toos Franken, so with both jerseys to the courthouse steps, but this is where the problem lies.

According to the legal platform Rechtbuigen it is important that the court can determine that the overall feel of the garments whether or not different. How many differences are required, it is not however to say. Sometimes one clear difference enough, but in another case, a number of subtle differences are not enough. An outcome in this type of disputes is in advance so never predict. In addition, a lawsuit is always an expensive affair, affirms Franken. “Zara, or actually Inditex, it is a huge company that undoubtedly an army of shrewd lawyers employed for this kind of disputes. The process would take a long time and an awful lot of money.”

Money that young labels often do not have, just because they only just started, local and fair manner, aim to produce or both, as Francs. The designer realizes that it is water under the bridge, but hopes that people realize how it goes in the sector, in the hope of extra awareness. “I’m not angry or sad, but it is so stupid because you know that it is an unfair fight. Now there will be just dust raised, but that the hoopla is over and it’s on to the next victim.”

Toos Franken is a 3 in our 30 under 30 for Knack Weekend. Click here to read our interview with the Belgian designer: “When clothing was well made, she can be anyone’

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