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Indie Fashion Designer Claims Pharrell and Louis Vuitton Stole Her ‘Shopping Bag’ Concept 

Producer-turned-rapper and now fashion executive Pharrell Williams has rolled into his new role at Louis Vuitton with celebration and fanfare.

In February 2023, the legacy designer house welcomed the stylish hitmaker as the first permanent head of menswear since Virgil Abloh passed in late 2021. His first effort in this capacity was to launch the brand’s Menswear Spring-Summer 2024 Show in Paris, featuring a full array of items, including a million-dollar duffle bag.

(Photo: Instagram)

Thanks to fashion designer and stylist Kellie Ford, many are zeroing in on a concept bag in the collection. According to a series of TikTok videos, the designer house and the master musician stole her original idea, and are presenting it as their own.

10 Million People Saw Her DYI Louis Vuitton Bag

In 2021, she went viral for taking an LV paper bag, received after she purchased something, and dolling it up to be a leisure item she could accessorize and rock out with an outfit. The DIY project garnered so much attention, with Ford boasting that over 10 million people saw it on Twitter.

“I had one viral for this Louis Vuitton shopping bag that I turned into a purse,” she said on TikTok about the 10 million views, adding, “I’m talking every blog. I’m talking Daily Mail UK, Daily Mail here, BuzzFeed, like everywhere. [It] was to the point where I was hit up by so many celebrity stylists, so many celebrities, even my idol hit me up, Dapper Dan.”

(Photos: TikTok)

According to the designer, the Harlem fashion icon shouted her out and told her to “keep doing” what she was doing.

Ford argues there is no way the designers at LV didn’t see it.

Did Pharrell Get Inspiration From Her Swag?

In the new LV/ Pharrell collection, which debuted on Tuesday, June 20, 2023, there are two bags that are not identical to her idea but are similar in concept for her to claim the house “bit” her style.

Two bags, shown in the June shows, are in question: an oversized leather clutch and an oversized leather tote. Both are Louis mustard yellow but modeled after the shopping bags a customer is given after leaving a shop with an expensive purchase. 

In her three video clips, she drills in that big businesses always steal the “sauce” from smaller businesses or creatives without attributing any credit or compensation to them.

“The thing is they took the concept,” she said. “A lot of y’all are like ‘The bags don’t even look the same.’ The concept is the same. The concept is the bag being like a normal … just a paper bag or whatever being worn at leisure.”

Neither Louis Vuitton nor Pharrell Williams has released a comment on the allegations.

Ford says she knows that there is truth to what she is saying because many of her followers contacted her after Pharrell’s show and said they instantly thought of her creation. She also noted the fashion industry has a long history of jacking the styles of young creatives and exploiting those ideas for their own gain.

She referenced her mentor, Dapper Dan.

How Gucci Did Right By A Harlem Legend After Public Pressure

After years of solidifying himself as a fashion legend in hip-hop, all but being snubbed by the major European designers he deconstructed to make more urban, Gucci finally took note in public. In 2017, one of the biggest stars in the world, Beyoncé wore a “Dapper Dan” puffy-sleeved jacket at the Made in America festival. The problem was that Dapper Dan did not design it or get any credit for its influence.

The culture was in an uproar. This, coupled with a recent Blackface “balaclava jumper” debacle, pushed Gucci to hire the Harlem native to oversee a collection. In the Fall 2018, he not only designed but was rightfully compensated for concepts made popular on ’80s hip-hop fixtures like Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Salt ‘N Pepa and Biz Markie.

He did not stop there. He pushed the Italian brand to put $5 million back into the community through investments, scholarships and more through the Gucci Changemakers initiative.

But not all stories of the little guy or gal in fashion pan out favorably.

Same Fight Different Outcome: April Walker vs. Virgil Abloh

Before his premature demise, Abloh was accused of swiping one of hip-hop designer April Walker’s signature pieces for his collection. In 2021, she accused the Off-White designer, who got his start with Kanye West, of stealing her double W from her vintage Walker Wear line.

She wrote in an open letter to the fashion industry, “Last week, the text messages flooded in all at once. ‘Congrats!’ ‘woah Saks is big time April!’ ‘good look with the Walker Wear on Saks’…. Huh? I opened up my phone to see my namesake ‘WW’ design on a ‘swaggy’ white male mode. The price tag was astronomical. The vibe? Casual appropriation. The problem? It wasn’t my jacket…”

“It was Off-White’s brand,” she recalled, before adding, “I’m sick of big fashion house creative looters that do drive-bys and steal derivative works and original designs from independent designers that actually birth originality. These big fashion brands ‘make and take’ and appropriate these designers without credit, compensation, or permission, until they’re called out.”

Walker’s story is much like Ford’s.

Ford says she is not considering legal action, but wants this to be a point of awareness for the consumer — hoping the same pressure placed on them to work with Dapper Dan can be applied to people like her and Walker.

“A one-time collaboration, or just something, is life-changing for these creatives and [that’s] nothing to y’all,” she asserts, hoping her plea is taken seriously by those executives and designers in power.

What people are saying

One thought on “Indie Fashion Designer Claims Pharrell and Louis Vuitton Stole Her ‘Shopping Bag’ Concept 

  1. Maria Kunins says:

    Pharrell has a habit of stealing .

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