It’s not uncommon for fast fashion retailers to find themselves in hot water. In the last year alone, Zara, Missguided, Steve Madden, and Old Navy have all been accused of stealing or copying designs from independent brands. In the latest fast fashion lawsuit, Ariana Grande is suing Forever 21 for posting video stills from her "7 Rings" music video as well as images of a model who looks and is dressed "strikingly similar" to her on its social media accounts. Grande claims that the posts were meant to deceive customers and make them think she was affiliated with the brand, which she is not. While Forever 21 attempted to partner with Grande following the release of her her single "Thank U, Next" in November 2018, she declined the deal because they weren’t willing to pay enough. According to the lawsuit, a single Instagram post by the artist is worth “well into the six figures.” Evidently, Forever 21 wouldn’t take no for an answer and forged ahead with a Grande campaign of their own.
While the photos in question have since been taken down from all of Forever 21’s platforms, The New York Times, BuzzFeed News, and TMZ all have screenshots of the posts. Take one look at them and you’ll likely understand why Grande was angered by their usage. One post featuring a still from her "7 Rings" video showed Grande sporting bejeweled pom-poms in her hair and was captioned with, "Best caption gets a follow back. Go! ? @arianagrande #LifeWithF21." Another post featuring a behind-the-scenes shot of Grande and two of her friends was captioned, "Tag your squad for the night. ? @arianagrande #LifeWithF21." Considering actual images of Grande were used and she was tagged in them, it absolutely makes it seem like the singer partnered with Forever 21 on the campaign.
The other images featuring a model with Grande’s likeness also allude to a partnership, though slightly less directly. In one image, a model sporting a slicked back ponytail was pictured wearing a bedazzled pom-pom headband that was strikingly similar to the aforementioned hairstyle Grande sported in "7 Rings"; in another, the model wore purple camouflage pants, pink heels, and a crop top, which mimics a full look Grande wore in the video. “The resemblance is uncanny and Forever 21’s intent was clear: to suggest to the viewing public that Ms. Grande endorsed Forever 21, its products, and was affiliated with Forever 21,” reads the lawsuit.
Elite Daily reached out to Forever 21 for comment and didn’t hear back by the time of publication, but the brand released a general statement on September 3 reading, "Forever 21 does not comment on pending litigation as per company policy. That said, while we dispute the allegations, we are huge supporters of Ariana Grande and have worked with her licensing company over the past two years. We are hopeful that we will find a mutually agreeable resolution and can continue to work together in the future."
If I could make a guess, I’d say that Grande’s response to a future partnership with Forever 21 will be thank u, next.
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