By Anna Reames.

Ever come across big-name brands knocking off small businesses’ designs? This is actually a form of Intellectual Property Theft [theft of material that is copyrighted, the theft of trade secrets, and trademarks violations]. But how do large corporations manage to avoid getting penalised for this?  

A classic example of this in the fashion industry is the constant accusations that are made against Shein for stealing designs from smaller designers. Shein and many other multinational corporations have the financial resources and protection to find ways around the law. This is the reason many businesses get away with this type of Intellectual Property Theft, because they don’t believe the small voice of the designer will be heard, and in a lot of instances – this is the sad truth. However, the recent uprise of TikTok – and other social media platforms like Twitter – has meant that the voices of small designers that are victim to these heinous acts can be heard.  

Although they are many negative effects of social media platforms like TikTok, this is one way it has been used for a good cause. A recent example of this is the small brand ‘Pink Honey’ with their first-of-its-kind product ‘Brow Honey’ which was sadly forged by the well-known brand ‘Makeup Revolution’. Thankfully, the brand CEO made a teary-eyed video to raise awareness of this, and Makeup Revolution took down the product from their site almost immediately after, due to the large amount of scrutiny the brand received.  

There are of course many other instances where designers are not so successful when trying to take back their designs. What do you think – will Intellectual Property Theft be a worsening issue, or will social media help protect small designers and their work?