They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but in many ways, that's a truly useless statement. Being flattered doesn't help much when someone steals your ideas, makes them famous, and you get none of the credit for it. We'd imagine it's probably even more frustrating when those ideas go on to make a tonne of money for someone else.

That's the situation that one designer, Zoë Carol Wong, has found herself in after she claims Primark stole her blouse design and passed it off as their own.

Zoë is the brains behind the boutique fashion line, Zoë Carol, which is stocked across Ireland and has appeared in various important magazines, newspapers, and journals including Sunday Business Post, Image, Hot Press, Stellar.

However, last week, she was sent an image of a blouse that Primark are selling which bore a striking resemblance to her one of her designs from her Spring/Summer 2016 collection.

(Note that in Ireland Primark trades under the name 'Penneys'.)

To be fair, while the designs aren't exactly the same, the cut, fit, and print of the two blouses are reasonably similar, close enough to be reasonably suspicious of where Primark got the idea from.

Zoë has since written an open letter to Primark, criticising them for stealing her design, however, she's been fairly magnanimous in her call out:

This isn't a rant where I go on about how hard I work, my design process or even the fact that I feel somewhat robbed. There's no woeful designer here who feels cheated by the big guy because I refuse to be the little guy...
... The fact of the matter is, life is unfair. My design was open and free to the public and open to interpretation by anyone who saw fit. There's no law against what you did and there's no law to protect designers and makers...
... Despite this clear robbery of intellectual property, I don't feel bad. I feel more determined to create and design things that people of all incomes want to buy. Not everyone could afford my collections, heck, I couldn't even afford my own collections given what I make on them but now other people can. Penneys has taken what I envisioned into something inexpensive and for the masses. That's ok.

However, there's a twist. Speaking to, Primark have firmly denied any knowledge of Zoë's work and claim that they came up with the design themselves:

Primark's team of designers take great pride in bringing its customers the latest trends at affordable prices. The Primark buyers responsible for commissioning and developing the product in question were not familiar with Ms Wong's company, or with its designs, and at no time took inspiration from them.

Oh snap.

We'll probably never know the truth but it's interesting nonetheless.

What do you think? Is Primark's design a clear rip-off of Zoë's design or is this whole thing a bit exaggerated? Sound off in the comments!

Featured Image Credit: PA/Instagram

Jack Rear

Jack is a writer at Pretty52. He's a got a lot of enthusiasm for video-games, superheroes, and reading. He's not above dishing out some serious sass either.

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