A Black fashion designer has some words for Balenciaga.
In an Instagram video, Lamont “Tory” Stapleton detailed his journey of starting his clothing line “Struggle is Common” in 2019. One of his shirt designs is printed with “FREE” — which received praise from celebrities such as the Kardashians during a private party in LA.
Lamont Stapleton's Message Behind His Brand
“At the start of 2019, after losing a friend to a long battle with addiction, I released a line called Struggle is Common. My goal was to remind people that they’re not alone and to encourage them to face their problems head on if they truly wish to be FREE,” he wrote in his post’s caption.
Finding The Root Of His "Alleged" Stolen Work
What started as a way for him to spread a powerful message through his creative work appears to have allegedly turned into him becoming a victim of creative theft.
Stapleton shared that about two years after debuting his designs, people started tagging him in a Vanity Fair interview of Diddy wearing what looked just like his popular black crew neck.
Then, he claims he also saw artists Da Baby and Anuel wearing pieces similar to his work. For a while, he was trying to figure out who allegedly snatched his design without credit or permission, until he finally claims he solved the mystery.
“At this point it became apparent that someone had clearly ‘borrowed’ my design, but I had no idea who,” he said. “That is until recently when multiple friends sent me a link to Balenciaga’s website where they were selling the exact same black crew neck as well as multiple variations of my design for up to 25x the price.”
Balenciaga, We Need Answers
After speaking out, Stapleton’s comment section is filled with support and people demanding a response from Balenciaga.
Time after time, Black designers have their work stolen by big-name companies. To serve as an example of this coming to an end, Stapleton is seeking to have a conversation with Balenciaga about whether the situation was intentional or possibly “just a big misunderstanding.”