'You just drove 100 mph into a brick wall': Brooklyn lingerie brand slams mega-influencer Danielle Bernstein's fashion blog for suing after it claimed she copied its designs
- "WeWoreWhat," Danielle Bernstein's fashion blog with 2.5 million followers on Instagram, is in a legal dispute with Brooklyn-based lingerie company The Great Eros.
- The Great Eros has claimed Bernstein copied the pattern of its signature tissue paper and put a similar design on wallpaper, swimsuits, and other apparel.
- Bernstein said that she had never purchased or been gifted anything from The Great Eros, and that an internal investigation showed her designers were not familiar with Eros' tissue paper.
- Eros' lawyer says he has evidence, in the form of showroom logs and requests from Bernstein for free merchandise from the brand, that Bernstein was familiar with the brand prior to making the designs in question.
- Although The Great Eros is accusing Bernstein of copying the design, WeWoreWhat filed a lawsuit against the lingerie company first, in a move Eros' lawyer called, "an underhanded attempt to race to the courthouse."
- "The lawsuit was filed in response to repeated threats," Bernstein's lawyer told Business Insider. "While TGE [The Great Eros] failed to provide any information to support its claims, we felt we needed to take the threats seriously."
Mega-influencer Danielle Bernstein's fashion brand WeWoreWhat, which has 2.5 million followers on Instagram, officially kicked off a legal battle with a Brooklyn-based lingerie company who said she copied one of its patterns.
The Great Eros had been using a pattern of female nudes on their brand's tissue paper for years when they noticed a similar pattern showing up on swimsuits, leggings, and wallpaper sold by Bernstein, Eros' counsel Jeff Gluck told Business Insider. In August, Eros' lawyers contacted Bernstein, and though Eros was the party alleging that WeWoreWhat had violated its intellectual propriety, WeWoreWhat was the one to file a lawsuit against the company on Thursday, according a court filing.
WeWoreWhat's suit seeks a declaratory judgement that it did not violate any Eros' copyrights, and asks for Eros to pay its legal fees. Bernstein's lawyer, Robert Salame, declined to share how much money in legal fees the company has accumulated so far.
"This is a small business. They feel threatened, they feel scared. They feel that their livelihood is at stake," said Gluck. He slammed Bernstein's choice to "sue a small business in the middle of a global pandemic, in the middle of a recession, when 30% of businesses in New York are already going under, and you're this multimillion dollar, powerful entity."
Bernstein addressed the claims in a statement on social media.
"I am absolutely not trying to hurt anyone or seek financial gain from this," Bernstein wrote. "I am an advocated and committed supporter of small businesses, and as an entrepreneur and designer, I hold creative liberty and ownership in the highest regard."
Bernstein claims that her company's pattern was influenced by Matisse's line drawings, and that, "generally ubiquitous concepts, such as silhouettes of the human form," aren't exclusive to one brand or company. She also wrote that she had never seen Eros' tissue paper prior to the complaint, had never purchased or been gifted anything from the store, and had conducted an internal investigation that concluded her designers were not familiar with Eros' pattern.
However, Gluck says that the similarities are no coincidence. Records of showroom logs and gifting requests show that Bernstein visited Eros' showroom (not its retail store), and that Bernstein had asked for free products from The Great Eros in the past, Gluck said. In addition, Gluck said that they aren't simply claiming the rights to line drawings of female nudes — it's the whole design that matters, from the stroke of the lines to the scale and arrangement of the figures.
On Saturday, Eros released a statement on social media asking Bernstein to withdraw her suit within 24 hours. Bernstein did not withdraw, lawyers from both parties told Business Insider. Instead, Gluck says Bernstein is "doubling down."
Salame confirmed to Business Insider that they had communicated with Eros' legal team after 24 hours had passed, but declined to elaborate on the content of the communications. He also noted that the deadline was made over social media, rather than directly communicated to Bernstein's counsel.
Gluck said he received a letter from Bernstein's lawyers Monday morning "suggesting she will only withdraw her complaint if The Great Eros signs an agreement saying that she didn't copy them."
"Obviously, that will never happen," Gluck said.
"Danielle, you have become a bully," The Great Eros wrote on its Instagram story over the weekend.
"And now, you sued us, in secret, while pretending you wanted to talk to us about settling," it continued. "It does not get any lower than that. You just drove 100 mph into a brick wall, because your bulls--t stops here and now."
This isn't the first time Bernstein and WeWoreWhat has been embroiled in controversy over its designs. In July, Bernstein was accused of copying a small designer's mask designs. Screenshots posted by fashion watchdog Diet Prada allege that Bernstein contacted Karen Perez to ask for a free mask that featured a gold chain. Two days later, Bernstein allegedly told Perez she was also making a mask with a detachable chain, but assured her that she wasn't copying.
You’d think @weworewhat would have learned not to leave a paper trail by now. @americaninfluencercouncil founding member Danielle Bernstein announced today that her @shopweworewhat line would shortly be stocking linen masks adorned with a safety chain. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It’s a cute idea— and she appears to have lifted it directly from @bysecondwind , who began offering masks June 1st. On June 29, Danielle reached out to the brand via DM, and hustled some free masks. On July 2, she messaged again with a heads up... she was launching her own masks. Don’t worry, though, according to Danielle they’re not a copy! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Well, she finally showed them today and they’re nearly identical, from the linen fabrication down to the unique loop design at the sides to hold the chain. Not sure how this is helping to “sustain the integrity” of influencer marketing “for the ultimate benefit of society” as per the AIC’s goals, but at least there’s one bright side. After her carefree summer galavanting around the Hamptons, Danielle is finally wearing a mask. • #bysecondwind #wearadamnmask #wearamask #weworewhat #daniellebernstein #shopweworewhat #chain #sunglasseschain #accessory #mask #facemask #faceshield #granny #linen #overalls #neutral #asustainable #ecofriendly #receipts #papertrail #influencer #americaninfluencercouncil #blogger #fashion #ootd #wiwt #dietprada
Bernstein rose to prominence as an Instagram influencer and blogger. In 2017, she was named the Forbes 30 under 30 list. Her apparel has been carried by Macy's and she has released multiple collaborations with the swimsuit brand Onia, who is also a party in the lawsuit. In May of 2019, the team released its fourth collaborative collection. Within three hours of its release, they sold $1 million in merchandise, WWD reported.
Onia and Macy's did not respond to Business Insider's requests for comment.
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