Fashion Nova is in hot waters again. If you haven’t heard already, fashion powerhouse Versace just filed a lawsuit against online clothing store Fashion Nova for allegedly creating a knock off of Jennifer Lopez’s iconic Jungle dress amongst other famous designs by Versace. J. Lo first wore the floor-grazing ensemble to the 2000 Grammy Awards and went viral — as viral it could be back then — among publications and news channels. If you could remember, J. Lo recently walked the runway just this September during the Versace show in Milan. She wore an authentic recreation of the iconic Jungle dress which sprouted a lot of attention online.
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@jlo’s #VersaceSS20 look is a reinterpretation of the Versace Spring-Summer 2000 green Jungle print runway dress. This season the sleeveless silk chiffon gown has been embellished with sparkling palm embroidery and paired with delicate leaf-embellished sandals. #MFW _ Photos by @gregswalesart
Fashion Nova is a fast fashioned retail company that’s popular among social media influencers in the West, as they were one of the first to truly utilise social media marketing. Fashion Nova has a massive fanbase, largely due to the recognition they give to their customers who post photos of themselves wearing pieces bought from their store. They have also successfully had celebrities as their ambassadors, with the likes of Kylie Jenner and Cardie B sporting skintight rompers and bodysuits from Fashion Nova. Cardie B also collaborated on a collection with Fashion Nova just last year.
The knock-off dress in question can be seen in this post from Fashion Nova’s Instagram that went up last 24 September, just days after the Versace show in Milan. At first glance, the eerie similarities that can be noted are the choice of print, the flowy fabric, the plunging neckline, and gathered material showing off the model’s legs. The thing is that a resemblance in the silhouette is not exactly blatant copying. So is this merely a case of coincidence?
It turns out that the dress itself is from Fashion Nova's holiday collection. So maybe it's really a homage to an iconic moment in fashion history?
But J. Lo’s ‘Jungle’ dress aren’t the only ones that Fashion Nova reportedly replicated, according to Versace. Fashion Nova also allegedly replicated their multicoloured ‘Pop Heart’ and black and gold ‘Barocco’ print designs in other dresses found on the website. Versace claims to own the trademarks and copyrights of these designs and such replications may lead to confusion and misleading amongst the haute couture house’s customers. As we know, knock-offs and imitation pieces are a big no-no in the fashion world.
In addition to these complaints, Versace adds that Fashion Nova has been using their trademarked words as tags on the pages where the clothing items are sold. This boosts the visibility of the items on search engines and social media.
Keep in mind though, this is not the first incident where Fashion Nova was accused of copying designs from other designers. In February of this year, Kim Kardashian called out the fashion site for recreating the Thierry Mugler dress she wore to the Hollywood Beauty Awards show. She issued that statement after speculations that she was working with Fashion Nova. There were some reports that the Fashion Nova dress was tagged as 'Kim dress' or 'Kim Kardashian dress' on the site.
Whether they truly intended to copy designs or pay homage to J. Lo's Grammy moment, it does not reflect well on Fashion Nova. After all, the 'costume' they made was almost a carbon copy of the original. This lawsuit casts a shade of doubt on their brand integrity and how they choose to conduct their operations. Should they have asked permission from Versace? Is that even a thing when making a costume replica? While they provide affordable 'alternatives' to big-name brands, should it really be based on replication rather than genuine creation?
Read more about knock-off culture here.