Designer duo Charles & Ron have criticised the global online fashion retailer Shein for copying their design of a custom-made suit and selling it for €18.
“This is exactly why people should not buy from places like Shein,” Ron van Maarschalkerweerd told Times of Malta.
“They exploit their workers, they exploit designers, and have no respect for the fashion industry.”
Award-winning fashion stylist Malcolm Gauci wore the bespoke tailored suit, which he designed with Charles & Ron, to the 2019 Malta Fashion Awards.
On Tuesday, Gauci posted screenshots showing him pictured wearing the suit on the Shein website.
“This suit was a custom-made suit by Charles & Ron, so this is a very misleading ad,” Gauci said, asking his followers to report Shein.
The 'Manfinity Men Lapel Neck Flap Detail Vest Blazer' is being sold on the website for €18, with a high rating of 4.81 stars.
Shein also warned shoppers that the blazer is “almost sold out”.
Numerous artists and designers have accused Shein of copying and stealing their designs. The global company has also been accused of mistreating its workers and failing to carry out sustainable practices.
Van Maarschalkerweerd said that Shein, and other fashion retailers that promote fast fashion, are known for stealing pictures and designs from designers, whether they are household names or small businesses.
“Our prices, like other designers, reflect the amount of time we spent designing the product, the material we used, and the creative process of creating a piece of clothing," he said.
"But then these people just come and make a cheap copy. We should all stay away from companies like Shein, and be a bit more thoughtful."
He said this was the first time the designers had seen a picture of their items posted and promoted on another website.
The designer said he would file a complaint to Shein but was not hopeful about the outcome.
"It is usually not worth it because you do not get very far, unfortunately, and this is something that happens often to designers," he said.