Why Cara Delevingne’s feminist sweatshirt is causing Internet backlash

Yesterday, Cara Delevingne posted a photo of herself and a friend (model Adwoa Aboah) promoting some pretty rad sweatshirts with the slogan “The Future Is Female.”

“A lot of you have been asking for one of these —so I decided to put them up for sale, with proceeds going to Girl Up!, ” Delevingne wrote in her Insta post.

But it turns out, that awesome design existed before the actress/model decided to start selling the sweatshirts. And the original artists understandably aren’t too happy about it. It appears as though the design was originally created by Otherwild, a studio and shop located in California, and the company took to Instagram to explain how there was no doubt that the design was theirs.  

“The slogan ‘The Future Is Female’ originates from Jane Lurie’s and Marizel Rios’ Labyris Books (1972), and Otherwild used @lizacowan’s image of Alix Dobkin in the shirt (1975) with permission […] Otherwild’s redesign and reissue of the FIF tees and buttons is protected under copyright law, which mandates that any reproduction of an existing known public work must be altered at least 20% from the original,” they wrote.  

Rachel Berks, from Otherwild, claims that Delevingne purchased one of her sweatshirts, then reproduced an identical sweatshirt, and is donating the proceeds to Girl Up, an organization dedicated to uniting young girls into changing the world. Berks sent an email statement to THE FADER, saying, “It’s confounding that she would do this to a small queer feminist-owned business after purchasing the product from us just a few weeks ago.” Yikes.

While Delevingne did tag @otherwild in her post (after the fact), Otherwild states on their Instagram that she still hasn’t bought the shirts wholesale from the original source: “Delevingne has changed the line’s attribution several times in the past 24. hrs., she has not yet offered to wholesale from us nor cease and desist blatantly copying and selling our designs.” So, it’s unclear who is actually creating the “The Future Is Female” sweatshirts —all we know is that it’s not Otherwild. 

Which is seriously unfortunate, because if Delevingne were to commission Otherwild to produce “The Future Is Female” shirts for her, the proceeds would go toward an organization that really needs the help right now: Planned Parenthood. Otherwild wrote,

Very little has been said by Cara Delevigne and her representation about the controversy, but I would suggest taking a peak at Otherwild’s stuff. Whether or not you want to follow the controversy, they have some super cool stuff on their website, and small feminist shops can always use support. Plus, your money will benefit the very important, very under siege, healthcare provider.

(Images via Instagram)