A London-based fashion designer has said her costume designs have been plagiarised for Janelle Monáe’s Grammy awards performance on Sunday.
Nange Magro, a Japanese-Italian designer who works primarily with latex, posted images on Instagram comparing designs she made in 2015 for her label Dead Lotus Couture with those worn by Monáe on stage at the Grammys. Magro wrote:
Amazing performance by Janelle at the Grammys. She and her dancers looked great. I’m deeply DISAPPOINTED, though, that their outfits looked so much like one of Dead Lotus Couture’s 2015 classic designs. I could’ve made it for them if they contacted me. Nobody likes to see unauthorised copies of their original creations – be it in music, art or fashion. I am flattered to be an inspiration for this amazing artist, but not flattered that my original design has been blatantly imitated.
Monáe has previously been pictured wearing Dead Lotus Couture designs, and an image of her appears on their website. The Guardian has asked the musician for comment via her UK label representatives.
Plagiarism is a constant topic in both pop music and fashion design. In 2016, Moschino designer Jeremy Scott made an undisclosed settlement with graffiti artist Joseph Tierney, after Tierney accused him of plagiarising one of his artworks for a dress worn by Katy Perry to the 2015 Met Gala.
Other recent cases in the fashion world include a 2017 incident in which two artists accused Gucci of imitating their designs. The fashion label responded that they were merely in “a creative exchange with street style and street vernacular”. They offered to collaborate directly with the pair, who both refused. In March 2018, Vivienne Westwood apologised to fellow fashion designers Louise Gray and Rottingdean Bazaar after she imitated one of their designs, saying: “We are sorry. The use of your graphics on our T-shirt was only ever meant to be a celebration of your work.”
This week, the luxury shoe designer Christian Louboutin won a seven-year battle against Dutch company Van Haren, who are now forbidden from copying the distinctive red sole from Louboutin shoes.
In music, meanwhile, numerous artists have made agreements with songwriters over plagiarised songs in recent years, most notoriously Ed Sheeran, Lana Del Rey, and Pharrell and Robin Thicke.