Crochet Artist Calls Out Shein For Allegedly Stealing Her Sweater Design

Small businesses work so hard to make their dreams come true.

Unlike corporations, small businesses do it all: designing, sourcing, packaging, social media, the works. They pay their workers fairly and work hard to be as ethical as possible.

That's why it's so frustrating to see a big company steal from a small one.

Elexiay is a deeply cool brand.

Elexiay is a black-owned brand that uses Nigerian craftsmanship to redefine our ideas of crochet clothing. Everything they make is handmade, sustainable, and made without the use of machines.

In July, Elexiay realized one of their most iconic designs had been stolen.

By the fast fashion giant Shein, no less. Elexiay posted on Twitter alleging that their Amelia sweater design had been stolen by Shein and was being sold on their site for $17.

There have been numerous accusations of Shein stealing from artists in the past.

A quick search on any social media platform will reveal horror stories from people who have allegedly had their work stolen and reproduced by Shein.

Elexiay were heartbroken at the theft.

"We’re a small black- owned independent sustainable business. Before this sweater was brought to life, we spent hours designing and brainstorming both color ways and structure. After which our patterns were created."

They explained how much work goes into each garment.

"Our artisans, all women in Nigeria, spend 4-5 days crocheting such beautiful piece of art. It’s quite disheartening to see such talent and hard work reduced to a machine made copy. "

Helpful Twitter users hooked them up with legal connections.

Designer Destiney Bleu said she's had quite a bit of experience going after companies that steal designs from small artists.

An alarming number of people were fine with Shein stealing the design.

Because it was cheaper at Shein, they believed it was fine. Shein doesn't use ethical labor practices and underpays their employees.

Additionally, I don't know who needs to hear this, but theft is bad. Just in case people needed to hear that.

However, the whole situation highlighted a lot of uncomfortable truths about fast fashion.

We can hate fast fashion while recognizing that they've become the only affordable places to shop for a lot of people. Not everyone has access to vintage stores, and many rely on online shopping for many of their needs.

Thankfully, Elexiay has rebounded from the situation.

They opened preorders for the Amelia sweater, and they're collabing with big brands to expand their business. You can check out the sweater (and everything else they make) right here!