Uh-oh, Uniqlo…

I was surprised to read this story from The Korea Times, since it’s usually big Korean mass-market clothing companies doing the knocking off, but Uniqlo got busted for being copy cats.

Korean clothing company, Coevel caught Uniqlo in the act of copying their “Navajo” socks. It’s a pretty blatant rip-off, and while Navajo inspired designs aren’t particularly unique, the Uniqlo design looks like a direct pull from Coevel’s. The Southwest decor craze of the late 70s, and the pastel version of the late 80s, seems to be on the rise again. Even Shepard Fairey’s  Obey Clothing came out with a series of “Navajo” clothes and accessories.

Uniqlo issued a public apology on their Korean website, but there’s been no official statement about how the issue will be resolved, and the CEO of Coevel is readying her legal team. Too bad there aren’t any royalties for the Navajo Nation.

Here are the socks in question:

No mention of it on the You Thought We Wouldn’t Notice But We Did blog, but there are plenty of rip-offs to go around these days.


  1. DeanS
    17 February 13, 10:26pm

    Wow is there something about this industry that attracts this sort of thing? I remember watching A New Kind of Love (1963) a romantic comedy with Joanne Woodward as a “buyer” for a large NY department store, but she actually goes to fashion shows to scout out the hot new designs so the store can make cheap copy’s(slightly tweaked of course).

    This and labor issues seem to trail the fashion industry(i suppose the electronic industry also), so of course Uniqlo was apparently accused of forcing employees at its stores and factories in China to work long hours for little pay. Apparently it was in Shūkan Bunshun a weekly magazine ,I can’t seem to find any other information about this other than they are apparently being sued by Uniqlo for libel.
    I find it especially sad when large companies copy(steal) designs, especially when it’s from smaller designers, crafters, groups who may not be able to defend their rights, then use an army of lawyers when they think someone has copied from them.

  2. mikio4
    18 February 13, 3:05pm

    But in this case, they’re both stealing from somebody else who doesn’t have any financial stake in this. It’s one side saying to the other “hey, you’re stealing what I stole fair and square.”

  3. DeanS
    20 February 13, 7:40pm

    @mikio4 And therein lies the true irony, sadly enough.

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