Taylor Swift Was Called Out for ‘Ripping off’ a Black-Owned Retailer’s Design and Changed Her ‘Folklore’ Cardigan

Taylor Swift made fans very happy with the surprise release of her eighth studio album last week. With the drop came a new video, new CDs and vinyl, and a ton of merchandise. Again, exciting stuff for fans. But one of those items was called out by a Black-owned retailer for its design. 

Taylor Swift during the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2020
Taylor Swift during the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2020 | Mat Hayward/GC Images

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Swift dropped a surprise album on July 24

Swift announced on her social media on July 23 that, in less than 24 hours, she’d drop her next album. It’s been a little over a year since her last album, which is sooner than anyone expected another full-length album from the artist. Plus, folklore (the album) is not the type of music Swift has done in recent years. 

So overall, it was a great gift for fans of Swift. Between the meaningful lyrics and the gorgeous new video for “Cardigan,” she delivered a lot. However, the design for the cardigan seen in the video — and that Swift was selling — was a little too similar to another design that already existed. 

A Black-owned retailer called out Swift’s similar design 

Amira Rasool, founder and CEO of fashion retailer The Folklore, shared on Instagram that Swift’s design “ripped off” her company’s logo. The issue was that Swift’s logo on the cardigan said “the folklore album,” and it matched The Folklore’s logo. The way the word “the” was placed was very similar to The Folklore’s. 

“Based on the similarities of the design, I believe the designer of the merch ripped off my company’s logo,” Rasool shared on Instagram. “I am sharing my story to bring light to the trend of large companies/celebrities copying the work of small minority-owned business owners. I am not going to let this blatant theft go unchecked.”

Rasool told InStyle that she was “shocked” at first, but had seen the stories of big corporations taking designs or “ripping off” smaller, Black-owned businesses in particular. “I just couldn’t believe that it was happening to me,” she said. 

While she shared that she finds it “hard to believe” that Swift’s team didn’t see The Folklore and its design on Google, she doesn’t blame the singer outright. 

“Clearly Taylor didn’t find The Folklore and make this sketch,” Rasool said. “But at the end of the day, Taylor is the one who’s profiting off of it. This is her team. So it’s up to her to make it right.”

Swift’s team sent out a statement confirming that they’re changing the merchandise

After Rasool posted that on July 24, when the album dropped, Swift’s team did amend the issue. E! News reported on July 29 that Swift’s representatives shared a statement that they were going to change the logo so it no longer infringed on The Folklore’s current design. 

“Yesterday, we were made aware of a complaint that the specific use of the word ‘the’ before ‘folklore album’ on some of the folklore album merchandise was of concern,” the statement said. “Absolutely no merchandise using ‘the’ before the words ‘folklore album’ has been manufactured or sent out.”

It went on to note that they notified those that ordered the cardigan, or any other merchandise that might have had this design, about the change. 

“I commend her team for recognizing the damage it caused to our brand,” Rasool said in a statement to InStyle. “I recognize that Taylor has been a strong advocate for women protecting their creative rights, so it was good to see her team is on the same page. It was a great first step and we are in conversation right now with Taylor’s team about the next steps to make this situation right.”

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