As Tatianna said in her iconic The Same Designs, “what you see, isn’t always an original design.”
Andrew Christian – one of the leading underwear stores/designers for gay men – have been accused of plagiarising the designs of various LGBT designers and artists and capitalising off of them in their new range. An emporium of jockstraps and briefs doused in aesthetically unpleasing designs, Andrew Christian are said to copy carious designs including HeyRooney’s Masc4Masc tee and GAYPIN’ Guys’ jockstrap design.
Hey Rooney, an Instagrammer, artist and New York City activist famed for his range of LGBT themed comic style clothing and GAYPIN’ Guys, a trio of marvellous LGBT enamel pin designers (more coming on them soon) both confronted Andrew Christian over the social media platform for plagiarising and capitalising off of their designs.
Fans of the designers were quick to plague the Andrew Christian Instagram page with messages of support for the designers, calling for the plagiarised pieces to be recalled and an apology be granted. Neither of which have been granted yet.
Rooney has won the hearts of almost 55,000 followers on Instagram, often posting original designs used to champion LGBT people, history and achievements through a fresh approach to design. For Pride Month he’s been slickly redesigning and parading the Hanky Code (the practice by gay and bisexual men of wearing hankies to signal sexual preferences) and even designed a ‘queer’ sticker to be used globally for pride season on Instagram stories.
GAYPIN’ Guys, similarly, built a formidable audience and customership over Instagram, designing and releasing an array of enamel pins all thematically LGBT (also including a limited edition hanky code pin). Both Rooney and these guys are integral creatives in America who dedicate community as the heart of their work, merging art with activism (or ‘artivism’ as we call it).
Remember when @andrewchristianintl stole my jockstrap design? They've done it to my friends @heyrooney & @3rdclassclothing now too. NOT CUTE. Don't support a brand who doesn't support independent artists in their own community. A post shared by Stevie ✌ (@stevienyc) on Jun 16, 2017 at 11:33am PDT
“When we first started, someone said that we were being too specific and limiting by only making LGBTQ+ pins. I couldn’t disagree more,” Stevie from GAYPIN’ Guys told HISKIND. “There is so much creativity and inspiration from the queer community, we haven’t had any problem coming up with ideas at all.”
Thew news follows on from a series of accusations that large apparel companies are capitalising off of the hard work of designers without crediting or hiring them as their own designers. Regardless, get out there and support LGBT artists, wear their pins, their gloriously femme designs, buy their art and, above all, don’t allow designers to get screwed over.