Oh, deer. Athleta is in trouble for allegedly ripping off someone else’s yoga pants design. K-Deer is a NJ-based activewear company run by owner and founder Kristine Deer. She is not on the design team at Athleta but somehow almost her exact designs ended up on the Athleta website in late December.
Apparently, Deer noticed the similarities between her “Jody” and“Alexis” stripe pants and Athleta’s “High Rise Bold Stripe Chaturanga Tight” after someone sent her a screenshot of the Athleta version. A social media backlash erupted soon after with K-Deer supporters launching #IStandWithKDeer and #BoycottAthleta hasthags on Twitter.
With the help of Fortune magazine, Athleta has since removed the nearly identical twinsy pants and released this statement. “At Athleta, our customers always come first and, after hearing recent feedback on the High Rise Bold Stripe Chaturanga Tight, we have decided to remove it from our assortment,” Debbie Felix, spokeswoman for Gap Inc. (Athleta’s parent company), told Fortune.
Deer has not sought any legal action, though technically she could have since fashion is trademark-able, but that whole process would probably take her way more time and stress than it’s worth. It makes us sad this sort of thing happens and that there’s probably more we’re not aware of. Thanks to social media and the keen eye of some customers, at least in this case, all is well again.
Copy catting doesn’t always happen between big companies and little ones. This reminds us of that time Lululemon accused Calvin Klein of ripping them off. In that case, you’d better believe there was legal action. They have the cash and investors-breathing-down-their-neck motivation to do it.