The obstacles facing small independent brands that lack financial backers or other means of support can’t be overstated. So when a Goliath in the form of Target Corp. allegedly copied one of Charli Cohen’s best-selling products, “it was heartbreaking,” the London-based designer said.
“We can’t begin to express the challenges of running an independent brand and starting it from nothing,” Cohen said. “The Charli Cohen brand only exists and continues because we’ve been able to create something original. To have a massive corporation knock off the T-shirt, which reads ‘Dressed to Kale,’ has been [devastating],” Cohen said.
The designer uses technology to conceal performance features within premium fabrics for her Laser leggings, $137, and Final Round bra, $132. Technical scuba is used for the Project Y coat, $479, and Omega sweatshirt $271. The “Dressed to Kale” T-shirt is $96, a tote bag, $82.
The saying has been popular. “We’ve seen a few ‘inspired by’ slogans doing the rounds (flattered, thanks) but this is the celeb-approved original,” Cohen’s web site says of the shirt, which is made from a breathable fabric with sweat-wicking and antibacterial properties, and UV protection.
“A lot of people come to our site through searching for ‘Dressed to Kale,’ which now leads them straight to the Target copy,” Cohen said. “Our #dressedtokale hashtag is now full of this knock-off. We have been in touch with Target and they are investigating. Meanwhile, our best hope of reaching a quick resolution is through social media awareness and support.”
A spokeswoman for Target on Monday afternoon responded, saying, “Target respects the design rights of others and we expect our vendors and partners to do the same. We are aware of this issue and working with our vendor to address the concern.”
About 30 minutes later, a link to the Target product page had the message, “Product not available.”