The #GirlBoss Netflix series hits small screens on riday, chronicling the rise of e-commerce fast fashion retailer, Nasty Gal. The Los Angeles based brand, which swiftly catapulted to success after getting its start as an eBay-only vintage shop, has become well known – since its launch in 2008 – for its stocking of line-for-line knockoffs of runway designs and indie designers’ creations. Hardly shocking, this is the business model for fast fashion retailers. Nasty Gal has, however, taken it a bit too far from time to time (or somewhat regularly) in terms of the garments and accessories it stocks.
Just in time for the series debut, here is a handful of some of the brand’s most egregious copies, some of which could, in fact, be illegal …
1. BALMAIN V. NASTY GAL
Remember when the Nasty Gal took to its Instagram to share a photo of Taylor Swift on the 2015 Billboard Music Awards red carpet along with the caption: “One-piece wonder. Taylor Swift in the Nasty Gal Frisco Inferno Jumpsuit.” The problem: Swift was wearing Balmain, and not Nasty Gal’s egregious Balmain copy. So, either Nasty Gal’s social media editor saw a marketing opportunity to trick consumers and boost sales (our money is on the option) OR was legitimately confused due to the very blatant nature of Nasty Gal’s copy. Either way, Nasty Gal lost when the entire fashion internet caught on.
2. GIVENCHY V. NASTY GAL
Quite often we see fast fashion retailers selling copies of high fashion garments and accessories because design piracy is a perfectly legal practice in the United States (for the most part). However, one tactic that definitely runs afoul of the law is copying an original image that appears on another brand's wares and putting it on your own. Case in point: Nasty Gal's "Vicious tote."
Unlike plain old design piracy (for which there is very little protection available via copyright law), there is protection for pictorial, sculptural and graphic works under U.S. copyright law. Nasty Gal's blatant imitation of Givenchy's super-popular Rottweiler design is a perfect example.
3. ALTUZARRA V. NASTY GAL
On the heels of designer Joseph Altuzarra’s Spring/Summer 2015 show, Nasty Gal was obviously quite taken with the brand’s stand-out latticework pieces, which were woven into a collection of pink Gingham prints and asymmetric wrap dresses and skirts. So, Nasty Gal copied one of them.
5. ADIDAS V. NASTY GAL
Just before filing for bankruptcy, Nasty Gal began offering an interesting skirt, one that was a DEAD RINGER for an adidas skirt. A bold move, given adidas' penchant for litigation, the Nasty Gal skirt came down not long after we drew attention to it, suggesting Nasty Gal may have been on the receiving end of a trademark infringement cease and desist letter from the German sportswear giant.
6. DI$COUNT UNIVERSE V. NASTY GAL
Before Nasty Gal started stocking Di$count Universe, it copied Di$count Universe. In April 2013, the Los Angeles-based company (with the help of supplier, Reverse) began selling copies of the works of independent Australian label and fellow online retailer, Di$count Universe.
The garments at issue: Di$count's hand-sequined All Seeing Eye crop top vs. Reverse's Eye Candy crop top (stocked by Nasty Gal) AND Di$count's Bones skirt vs. Reverse's X Ray skirt (also stocked by Nasty Gal). And Nadia Napreychikov and Cami James, the founders of Di$count, were not pleased. They have taken to their Facebook and Instagram accounts slamming the retailer with some choice words.