FAKING IT: London-based Dazed media, which publishes Dazed & Confused and AnOther Man, has alerted fashion colleagues worldwide to a fraudster stylist who’s been swiping samples for non-existent shoots.
As a result, fashion and public relations companies are looking for a man who calls himself Arnaud Henry Mensan. He claims to be international editor-at-large for Dazed & Confused and has already stolen tens of thousands of dollars worth of samples for “shoots” at Dazed, AnOther Man and Elle France.
Dazed discovered the fraud after the designer Sadie Clayton got in touch over the summer to inquire about four samples she had sent to Mensan, in Japan, for shoots alleged to be taking place for Dazed and i-D magazine.
According to emails, every time the designer requested the samples be returned to her, Mensan said he would speak to his team to get the courier’s tracking number, which never happened. Mensan also told the designer that he’d spoken to the British customs office to sort things out. Clayton is still waiting for her samples.
“At one point, he did say I should make an invoice to claim the money back from Dazed. So really he hasn’t a clue what’s going on and keeps fobbing me off with lies,” said Clayton, adding that the phone number Mensan provided is invalid.
A member of the Berluti press office in Tokyo also contacted the Dazed team to ask about missing samples, and has since filed a report with local police. Mensan had originally emailed Berluti, claiming to be working with the photographer Richard Burbridge on fashion editorials for AnOther, Dazed, and “the soon-to-be-relaunched Dazed Japan.”
Berluti loaned samples worth about 10,000 pounds, or $12,560, which were not returned despite repeated requests from the PR team.
Dazed confirmed that Mensan is in no way affiliated with Dazed, AnOther Magazine or AnOther Man, and that its legal team has been in touch with Mensan. “A lot of talented designers have been burnt by his lies. The man is clearly a lowlife and he’s using our name to strengthen his scam,” said Thomas Gorton, editor of Dazeddigital.com.
Berluti did not return requests for comment, while a spokesperson at Art and Commerce, which represents Burbridge, confirmed the photographer is “not familiar with, nor has he ever worked with, Mensan.”
WWD contacted several brands that fell victim to Mensan’s scam. Isabella Wong of Northskull, a London-based jewelry brand, said it had handed about $1,800 worth of jewelry to Mensan last year that was never returned despite repeated emails and attempts to contact him via his social media channels.
“Of course, stylists not returning samples is not uncommon, but I’ve never seen this kind of thing,” said Wong.
Kristoffer Lundin, marketing director at Norwegian brand HAiKw/, had a similar story. “He ‘borrowed’ our entire spring-summer 2017 sample collection from our agent in Tokyo in late September for some Dazed and AnOther Magazine shoots supposedly taking place in early October,” he said. “He was last in contact with our Japanese agent about the return of our garments as late as Nov. 20.”
He added that the market value of the 92 samples taken is about 123,000 euros, or $130,500, at current exchange. “We needed the samples for an exhibition at the Norwegian embassy in Japan, which was hard to pull off as the entire collection we were supposed to exhibit was missing,” said Lundin.
Mensan could not be reached for comment.