Land’s End rips off belt design

If you’ve been a reader of mine since the Modcloth scandal of 2010, you know me as someone who will talk about problems I see within the fashion world, even if it leads to an employee leaving me cryptic messages (thanks IP tracking!). Because of that post, Modcloth removed the listing of one of those dresses, and also recognized me and my readers (as well as readers of The Gloss and others who profiled the problem) as a force to be reckoned with.

Recently, it has come to my attention that another company is doing something more devious than just pricing their poly-blend products at astronomical prices.

Land’s End has allegedly taken Kiel James Patrick’s belt design and is selling it as its own design, for about half as much. Here are the two designs, side-by-side:

A little too similar to be a coincidence, right? They’re even laid out the same way, photographs taken in front of grey backgrounds.

Design stealing is, sadly, nothing new in the fashion world. I found this blog post about LL Bean stealing Eliza B sandal designs (quite brazenly, I might add). Last year, a similar controversy cropped up with US state necklaces and Urban Outfitters. In that case, Urban Outfitters removed the necklace from their site, but as April from Regretsy pointed out, there were many other sellers on Etsy with similar products, so who’s really the originator of the product?

In Kiel James Patrick’s (KJP) case, according to the statement he sent to Ivy Style, he’s not claiming to be the originator of a nautical belt, but created a hand-crafted, high-quality belt that took months to perfect. KJP also says that his designs are not sold to corporations, such as Land’s End, so their seemingly identical design was not created by him, nor is he receiving any payment for it.

We can argue if this is something that we think should go on in the fashion world or if we think it’s right/wrong, but that’s not where I’m taking this discussion. I want to call out Land’s End for their blatant rip-off of a small company (20 employees!), and I want them to remove the belt from their shelves.

As it’s noted on the Ivy Style site, designs cannot be copyrighted. But, most designers (indie or well-known) aren’t going to rip someone else off, because it can be traced, and everyone wants to be original. There is a difference between seeing someone else’s design, being inspired, and creating something you deem as better. Wouldn’t you want to have something better than someone else, not a blatant copy? (Again, I don’t want to argue about fast-fashion and all that – that is not the point of this post.)

Let’s make some waves. KJP already tried to comment on the Land’s End Facebook and Twitter, and Land’s End hasn’t responded. If you take a look at Land’s End’s website, you can leave comments and reviews for products. I suggest we all jump over there and leave comments on the belt, bringing the star (boat) value down to one. Tell them the design is stolen from a small business In Rhode Island. Let’s make Land’s End give us an answer. If they didn’t “steal” the design, there would be no reason for the silence, in my opinion.

By bringing the star value of the product down, and making sure others are aware that the design isn’t original to Land’s End, hopefully Land’s End will be forced to do something about the product (e.g. pull it from the shelves!).

Please head over to the Land’s End website and help KJP get the answers they deserve.