House of CB’s Conna Walker Says Aritzia Copied Her Designs

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They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but when it comes to fashion design, many think otherwise.

Conna Walker, the 27-year-old founder and CEO of London-based fashion brand House of CB, seems to be in the latter camp, as she is accusing Canadian retailer Aritzia of ripping off her designs for its newly launched Ten by Babaton spring 2020 collection, which Aritzia describes as “Sleek essentials for evening situations.”

In a tweet, Walker, who started House of CB at the age of 17 with $3,880 that she borrowed from her father, claimed that Aritzia copied several of her designs, including a black bodycon dress with a plunging neckline, a bustier-style black top and a neon-green form-fitting spaghetti-strap dress with ruched details.

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“Hey @ARTIZIA as flattered as I am that you created a whole sub brand to rip off my independent brand, I think it would have been a lot better to ask for a collab. You’re also charging more for your copies. You’re a huge brand and know better. Can’t wait to see the next collection,” she tweeted, adding side-by-side images of the strikingly similar House of CB designs and Ten by Babaton designs. (Note: When converted to Canadian dollars, House of CB’s prices are actually higher than Aritzia’s.)

It appears Artizia has not replied publicly yet, and when FLARE reached out for its take, the brand said it’s “not able to comment” at this time.

While some Twitter users applauded Walker for calling out Aritzia, others were quick to accuse the British designer of copying other retailers, also noting that House of CB’s designs are similar to those by Babyboo Fashion and Oh Polly. In her responses, Walker acknowledged that copies do happen in design but explained that she had mainly taken offence because her work was made into an entire collection by a major retailer.

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“Sure, it happens sometimes in design, one piece here or there when designers get inspired – not a whole collection,” she responded to one user.

“We get copied a lot, I’m not going to list each one or every time lol but aritzia is such a big company with so many resources so its [sic] another level,” she wrote to another user.

Walker, whose designs have been worn by Kylie Jenner, Jennifer Lopez, Bella Hadid and Beyoncé, to name a few, later tweeted, “Of course I know it’s fashion people copy, if it was one or two things fine. If it was a small brand and a girl just tryna [sic] pay her bills then I wouldn’t post it, but a company with 100+ stores that’s on the stock market and last year did $200m has the resources to do better.”

And, indeed, design copies are unfortunately common in the fashion world, with fast-fashion retailers and e-tailers like Forever 21 (RIP), Zara and Fashion Nova often being the worst offenders. But that’s not to say that major designers and fashion houses haven’t taken a bit too much inspiration from their peers—just look to industry watchdog Diet Prada for proof.

It does seem bizarre, though, for a major retailer to sell designs that not only share a similar aesthetic but actually seem to be direct copies of another brand’s designs—particularly a brand that has such a cult celeb following. Sure, bandage dresses, form-fitting tops and ruched eveningwear isn’t exclusive to House of CB, but you can’t deny the similarities between the London brand’s and the Canadian brand’s pieces.

FLARE has reached out to Conna Walker for comment. We will update this post once we hear back.



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