Former reality star Sherée Whitfield of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” is facing accusations from critics and fans that her long-awaited fashion line is a knockoff of cheap online stores sold at a higher price.
Fans are calling out Whitfield for selling items similarly available on low-cost online fashion outlet Shein as well as Amazon. Critics are saying Whitfield is selling low-quality items at egregious prices after slapping her name on them, Radar reported.
Whitfield has been working on her fashion brand since 2008, and it’s been an uphill struggle to get to a She by Shereé fashion show event for which she reportedly had been preparing.
It was not until now that her show items were made available on her website – a website that crashed on its debut.
Although the website is currently back up and running, it is littered with loading issues, causing some of the images to be missing on the e-commerce site.
“Shereé Whitfield is on a mission to help women unapologetically live their best lives. It’s no secret that Shereé wears many hats, mother, author, fashion designer, fitness enthusiast, and television personality. However, she is purposed to empower women to be stylish, independent, and, most importantly, committed to loving themselves inside out,” the brand’s mission statement reads.
After much anticipation, fans were displeased with what was offered. Take, for example, Whitfield’s gray sweatsuit that sells for $130. Fans believe it looks identical to one produced by Shein, Dish Nation reported. The price on Shein? Originally $13; on sale for $7.
One Twitter user posted, “Nah you wrong for these Shein joggers and charging NIKE prices.”
It is also being reported that the 40 or so allegedly copycat designs were made by a fashion designer who was paid or credited, and not designed by Whitfield.
When asked about the Shein controversy by WomensHealth, Whitfield said she had not heard about it, but responded, “I have a lot of people on a lot of websites looking at products and saying, ‘Ooh, I like that, I’m inspired by that.’ Then you take that and put your own spin on it,”
According to Whitfield, said she had never seen the Shein or Amazon look-alikes prior to putting them in her line.
She added, “The majority of my pieces are custom. Everything you saw on the runway was custom.”
Similar items on Shein are cheaper for a reason–you have to pay for quality, noted Whitfield.
“Everyone who follows Shereé Whitfield knows that everything I do is quality,” she said. “I am quality.”
Whitfield wrote via Facebook following the fashion show, “What y’all saw last night was echoes of my years in fashion,”
The She by Shereé fashion show, something Whitfield said she had spent nearly $1 million putting together, got rebooted on the final episode of season 14 of “RHOA,” Distractify reported.
Forbes estimates that a 10- to 15- minute fashion show can cost anywhere between $200,000 and more than $1 million.
Whitfield, who was married to former NFL player Bob Whitfield from 2000 to 2007, has an estimated net worth of $800,000. She appeared on “RHOA” when it first premiered on Oct. 7, 2008, with Lisa Wu, DeShawn Snow, Nene Leakes and Kim Zolciak. She left the show in 2012. She returned this year for season 14. According to Celebrity Wealth, during her first four seasons on “RHOA,” it is estimated that Whitfield earned around $550,000 per season. For season nine, she reportedly got a salary boost to $800,000, and she was estimated to get another boost to $1 million.