Canadian lingerie designer Mary Young says Zara copied her design: 'Very unfortunate'

Canadian lingerie designer Mary Young claims that her Kendi Bra (left) was allegedly knocked off by Zara (right). (Photos via Mary Young and Zara)
Canadian lingerie designer Mary Young claims that her Kendi Bra (left) was allegedly knocked off by Zara (right). (Photos via Mary Young and Zara)

A Canadian lingerie company is accusing Zara of copying their designs.

On Wednesday, Mary Young, the founder of her self-named lingerie company, took to Instagram to say that one of her signature designs, the Kendi Bra, was seemingly knocked off by fast fashion retailer Zara.

In the post, Young shared a photo of her design — a sheer, black scoop neck bra — next to a Zara bra that looks similar.

The designer also included a video of her explaining how the alleged knock off impacts small businesses like hers.

"...It’s very unfortunate because this is something that we designed internally. We actually designed all of our products in house...," she said. "...As a small business, legally there’s nothing we can do…but it’s all about educating our community and our customers that it’s important to know where things are coming from and who did it first."

Yahoo Canada has reached out to Zara for comment.

When asked how she found out about the incident, Young revealed that it was a customer who brought it to her attention.

"A customer emailed a screenshot of a bra like ours on the Zara website, and she wanted us to know," Young told Yahoo Canada. "I don't go on Zara's website so I probably wouldn't have seen it myself, so it was nice that the customer told us. She buys our Kendi Bra and wanted to know that she will continue to support us."

At first, the designer shared that she was surprised to see the Zara bra, but is used to things like this happening in the fashion industry.

"This isn't the first time we've had other companies be inspired by our designs...I think it's unfortunate that this has become so normalized in the fashion space, that big brands take designs from smaller businesses and customers don't question where these designs are coming from," she said. "I've come to understand this happens, but it doesn't feel great."

Moreover, in the caption of her Instagram post, Young added that this incident is "extremely disheartening" and "honestly upsetting."

"Our small team of three...bring all of our hard work to life with intention, ethical practices, sustainable materials and love for you to feel your absolute best," she wrote to her 42,000 followers. "What we do cannot be compared to Zara stealing a design we launched in 2018, but the reality is their team is much larger and their budget/reach/following is even larger which ends up leaving us unheard and unseen in this busy fashion world."

Legally, Young revealed that if she wanted to take legal action, her company would "get buried in legal fees." She has not reached out to Zara directly, and is "on the fence" about whether she will or not.

Despite this, Young is trying to look at the positives.

"What we do at Mary Young and the amount of effort, attention and thoughtfulness we put into our products cannot be taken away...Nothing can imitate our sustainable and ethical materials or our production," she shared.

Young also explained that it's important for shoppers to "ask questions" when shopping, such as where garments are made, what the workers wages are, or see if you can get your desired product from an independent designer or thrift shop.

"We also see you – our community and loyal customers – who have been supporting us over the years...A big thank you for the continued love and support," she penned to her customers on Instagram.

When asked what advice she has for other small businesses who will go through this in the future, the designer gave an uplifting message.

"It most likely will happen...don't allow your emotions to control you and stay focused on what you are doing and stay true to what you want to bring to your community and customers," she said.

In the comments of the social media post, fans rushed to Young's aid and offered her supportive words.

"You can feel the passion and love that goes into each Mary Young garment. It’s incomparable. Always cheering for you," shared a follower.

"Continue on with your hard work, people value brands like yours and will continue to come back," added another.

"So sorry you're going through this, stay strong!" wrote someone else.

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