Fashion Law

Nasty Gal Makes Fashion Lawkward Mistake

Yup, fashion law + awkward = awkward.

Taylor Swift wore a white jumpsuit to the 2015 Billboard Music Awards. Nasty Gal jumped on Instagram and took credit for Swift’s jumpsuit.

Taylor Swift was actually wearing Balmain (Spring/Summer 2015).

Should there be legal consequences over this mistake?

Taylor Swift in Balmain jumpsuit at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards - Fashion Law post

Nasty Gal’s knockoff clothing is so similar to originals that even its employees get confused.

Nasty Gal Frisco Inferno Knit Cutout Jumpsuit / Balmain knockoff - Fashion Law post

Frisco Inferno Knit Jumpsuit


Nasty Gal learned of the mistake and removed the claim to Taylor Swift’s outfit.

There is no current copyright protection to prevent knockoffs like this one. This confusion is an example of how fashion copycats can succeed without much imagination.

Fashion Law implications for Nasty Gal

If Nasty Gal were to ignore this mistake or continue to claim the Balmain look as its own, fashion law consequences would be likely.

In addition, honesty could have led to potential fashion law problems. If the company were to instead have shared a photo of Taylor Swift’s look and but then linked to its knockoff as a look for less, this action would be the type of shadiness that may have ended up in court. This is true even if the social share noted Balmain as the original designer. Such a comparison could communicate a false connection between the brands to the consumer.

Copyright law.

There could have been a possible copyright law issue here. Fair use is a valid defense to copyright infringement. But, using someone else’s copyright without much change and with intent to profit from it weighs against the secondary user in a copyright case.

Here, Nasty Gal knowingly posted someone else’s image. In addition, the copyrighted image was used to entice shopping via consumers wanting to copy Taylor Swift’s look.

Deceptive trade practices.

Deceptive trade practices like making a consumer think one item is the same as another could also be alleged. This would be particularly true if after being alerted of the mistake, the company would have perpetuated a fraud by keeping the post up.

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