The Chinese fast-fashion company Shein, which is apparently valued at $66 billion, is being sued by a number of designers for allegedly copying the creations of independent artists “over and over again, as part of a long and continuous pattern of racketeering.”
Krista Perry, Larissa Martinez, and Jay Baron, three independent designers, assert in their lawsuit that Shein’s “design ‘algorithm’ could not work without generating the kinds of exact copies that can greatly damage an independent designer’s career—especially because Shein’s artificial intelligence is smart enough to misappropriate the pieces with the greatest commercial potential.”
Although Shein’s usage of AI is highlighted in the lawsuit, it’s not quite obvious how Shein applies AI to the design process. The company doesn’t seem to be creating the claimed replicas using AI in a literal sense.
There are numerous side-by-side comparisons in the complaint, including the following:
According to the lawsuit, Shein’s actions are unlawful under RICO (the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act). The American Mafia was the first organization to be prosecuted under the 1970-adopted statute.
The designers claim in their lawsuit, which they are seeking a jury trial for, that the fast-fashion behemoth’s “misconduct is committed not by a single entity, but by a de-facto association of entities.” RICO, according to the plaintiffs, is pertinent to this case since it was developed to “address the misconduct of culpable individual cogs in a larger enterprise.”
When contacted for comment, Shein gave TechCrunch a canned statement outlining how seriously the business takes such claims. The company continued by saying that it would “vigorously defend” itself.
Shein is one of the most rapidly expanding internet merchants on the planet, and the company has frequently been accused of mistreating artists, employees, and the environment.
The business previously admitted to breaking regional labor regulations.
Despite these shocking revelations, Shein has made an effort to position itself as a company that cares about both the environment and society.
Additionally, in a recent campaign that quickly backfired, it courted a few influencers.