November 27, 2017 11:10 AM
Emily Ratajkowski/Instagram

Emily Ratajkowski launched her debut swimsuit collection Inamorata last week, and the model-turned-designer is already facing backlash for allegedly plagiarizing designer Lisa Marie Fernandez’s designs.

According to Business of Fashion, Fernandez sent a cease-and-desist letter to Inamorata, claiming that two swimsuits in the line closely resemble two silhouettes she first released over three years ago.

While Ratajkowski said her six-piece collection of feminine and retro one pieces and bikinis was inspired by flipping through issues of Sports Illustrated from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, the New York-based swimwear and ready-to-wear designer thinks two of the model’s styles seem to resemble silhouettes from a collection she originally launched three years ago.

The designer points out that Ratajkowski’s bow-tie Cardiff one piece appears to be a copy of her own Triple Poppy maillot swimsuit, as well as the star’s Vulcan top, which resemble’s Fernandez’s own Leandra bikini top.

Although in the United States there is no copyright protection for physically functional items (including clothing), since Inamorata ships internationally, Fernandez was able to invoke two European Union Community Design Registration certificates that she filed in 2015, which allows her to supply, import, export or deal products incorporating the designs within the European Union until 2020.

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Fernandez has given the brand until November 22nd to respond to the letter before initiating any legal proceedings.

According to a statement made by Fernandez and her team: “Lisa Marie Fernandez will continue to seek legal action against other brands that continue to blatantly plagiarize her registered and known designs.  It is factually inaccurate for Ms. Ratajkwski to claim these designs as her own. Ms. Fernandez believes that it is the responsibility of all brands to protect their original designs.”

A representative for Ratajkowski declined to comment upon BoF‘s request, but the star did explain her design process to Vogue when the collection launched last week.

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“There was a picture of Stephanie Seymour in Sports Illustrated where she has three or four [bows], and it was actually in the back,” Ratajkowski said. “I thought that was so pretty and such a nice way to show the figure. I loved the idea of turning it around.”

What do you think about this lawsuit? Sound off in the comments below. 

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