Showing Their Stripes: Is this Inspiration or Infringement?

Earlier this morning in our Wake Up Round Up we pointed you to a story on Fashionista about Bryanboy's vintage J. Crew sweater and a nearly identical knit from JW Anderson's Fall 2012 collection.

Crazy, right? They are basically identical. We agree with Fashionista's sentiment that it's just highly unlikely that this is a coincidence. What we can't say for sure is whether the folks at J.W. Anderson found the inspiration from Bryanboy's site, or if they too found one of these old-school J. Crew sweaters at a vintage spot in Paris.

While Bryanboy didn't design this sweater, this situation sort of reminds us of Topshop copying blogger and jewelry designer Wendy Brandes' set of rings, as well as that whole Seventeen and Rookie Mag debacle.

It's clear that bloggers' influence on the greater fashion and media landscape is becoming more and more visible, and not always in the right way.

What do you think of these larger companies taking (very literal) inspiration from bloggers? Has a line been crossed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.


[Image credits: Bryanboy, OKI NI]

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14 Responses

    • taylordavies

      Right – we made sure to mention in the post that Bryanboy didn’t design this sweater. We do, however, question where JW Anderson saw this sweater to draw the inspiration. We’re not saying that he has been ripped off, but that the influence of bloggers can result in larger companies, designers and media pubs taking “inspiration” to the extreme. Thanks for commenting!

  1. Nadya

    What I don’t get is what good does that sweater bring? There are so many kinds of great striped sweaters out there, do they have to choose this one? And yeah, perhaps the major companies get “over-inspired” over big names fashion bloggers, I agree with that.

  2. Ashley Garner

    This has been an long term issue with artists and advertising companies, design labels, concepts, etc and so on. Although there is very clearly a line being crossed of genuine-ness in the origin of the design or idea unless the original person is willing to take it to legal lengths there is not much to be done about it other than make loud complaints in print.

  3. Gabby

    I don’t see a problem against Bryanboy, I mean, he didn’t designed the sweater, but agree with Alice, J. Crew could show more honesty, the sweater is identical, I see no inspiration, but a replica.

  4. TheAsiaMonique

    I feel as if a major brand is going to be “inspired” by fashion bloggers, they sincerely need to give credit as it is due. Very simple. Unfortunately, some don’t always have the perfect thought or idea, but stealing from someone isn’t going to make it better at ANY level of the industry. Great read.
    -Asia Monique

  5. Maddalina

    Well, just a thought: what if it’s the other way around. Brian Boy bought a JW Anderson sweater or got it as a gift and it isn’t a JCrew sweater at all. Maybe he didn’t get the brand right on his blog or just wrote its vintage. I don’t want to imply the Boy is lying but there can be many explanations.

    Referring to what you all think: Of course bloggers have a great impact on labels. Bloggers are first adapters when it comes to fashion and a lot of trends just came up because bloggers liked something and showed it to their readers. What I want to say is this. The blogger is standing in the middle between labels and the crowd. The labels need the blogger for inspiration, to know what people like or don’t and tho show new products. The crowd like ordinary girls, blog readers etc. need bloggers to stay up to date or get inspiration.
    I think it’s OK for brands to get inspired by bloggers. Why should just the readers profit from a bloggers outfit post, why not the other way round?
    Of course the shirt JW Anderson sweater is beyond inspiration. It looks like a copy to me. Inspiration is ok but there is a line which shouldn’t be crossed!

  6. Charley

    As a DIY fashion blogger at Chic Cheat ( ) I suppose I’m going to be biased but I suppose accessibility is the key here, whether it’s a cheaper price, a different country (thereby avoiding the cost and hassle of postage and packing) or something else that makes it more easily available to a different market, who are nonetheless as likely to covet it as the one before, then I guess near-plagiarism’s a safe bet, really. There seems to be a lot of leeway in design when it comes to copying, and always has been (otherwise, let’s face it, Topshop’s design team would be lifers!) I teach people how to copy designer clothing and ideas for a fraction of the price by making their own versions, and source most of my materials online so that you can get them anywhere in the country and/or know what to look for if you’re reading the blog from abroad. Someone without the requisite time to spare – or skill for some of my more ambitious projects – might rather buy the original. It’s horses for courses, I suppose. As far as fairness to designers is concerned, whoever said the fashion industry was fair to begin with?

  7. Love Aesthetics

    What happened to me last week was even worse and more obvious., one of the biggest online retailers of Europe replicated one of my DIYs.:

    After lot’s of great support (angry emails <3 ) from my readers,; one of the Netherlands biggest fashion websites writing an article about it, and me phoning them, they apologized and took the necklaces down.

    Because the necklaces are not on their site anymore, here's the article where you can see my DIY vs.'s necklace

    Luckily, is a websites that supports bloggers and were truly sorry that this happened and took action right away. They'll even give away free necklaces to all my angry readers who complained about this.
    Yes! bloggers have more influence!
    and Yes! thanks to their readers fashion is democratic!

  8. Miss Mellalina

    I don’t really get what the big deal is. I think it’s amazing to see how influential bloggers can be.

  9. Melanie Patterson

    There was a beautiful sequined Dolce & Gabbana dress with stars that Denni wore a little while back. Zara actually reworked the dress by removing a sleeve. I saw it in stores this past week and noticed the uncanny resemblance. Upon seeing it, I definitely noticed the direct inspiration and felt a weird sense of victimization, haha. At the same time, though, I felt like it was cool that someone who is a blogger like me (but better) could be influential in that sense.

  10. ashley

    Why is everyone saying that J.Crew copied? This is a vintage Jcrew sweater, the JW anderson one is new and he knocked it off- exactly- without changing a thing.