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Fast fashion giant says ‘boohoo’ after ripping off a body positive blogger

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Influencer and Fenty ambassador Mik Zazon alleges that Boohoo plagiarised her trademark ‘normalise normal bodies’ slogan in their advertising campaigns

Despite what current discourse might dictate, the girlboss is far from dead. In fact, she is quickly becoming fast fashion’s most lucrative spokesperson. And in some cases, she has even been promoted to head of creative. It comes as little surprise, then, that Boohoo has been accused of poaching an influencer’s trademarked body positivity slogan and emblazoning it across an advertising billboard – an unfortunate and contradictory gesture to female solidarity.

The poster features a model wearing a lacy lingerie set, with “Normalise normal bodies” plastered over the top – a phrase Mik Zazon claims to have copyrighted since December 8, 2020. The Ohio native was initially sent screenshots by some of her 980,000 followers, of what the conglomerate claimed (in a now-deleted Instagram post) was “the biggest billboard in Europe”.

Posting the evidence herself, Zazon was “heartbroken”, recalling the genesis of her “normalise normal bodies” movement. “I remember when I first came up with the phrase. I was living at my sister’s house and just getting my own two feet off of the ground after leaving an outpatient eating disorder recovery program,” she wrote. “Boohoo, this is my community. Not yours. My trademark. Not yours.”

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Zazon has since said that she has been in direct contact with the clothing firm, alleging that it did not make mention of the billboard, though it did stress that it would not be taking the situation “lightly”. In an email, a purported representative of the company seemed to lament the fact that the influencer would not be willing to collaborate with its “13 million strong following” and that it was “unfortunate” that they couldn’t work together.

Zazon, who has a partnership with Savage X Fenty, clarified that her disappointment had nothing to do with money. “I will go in my grave before I let a fast fashion company take away something that is so personal to me,” she said.

It’s an Ugly Big Thing – the fast fashion industry feeds off a culture of copying. Knitwear designer Bailey Prado recently spoke to Dazed about the experience of having her “whole life” copied by Shein. While Zazon has said that she will be taking legal action against Boohoo, Prado is hesitant to engage in any kind of legal tussle, having heard stories of drawn-out infringement battles “about large companies just burying smaller brands in legal fees and paperwork”.

And while these firms are quite rightly coming under fire for their exploitative practices, they are ramping up efforts to challenge public perception – Shein is producing a reality TV competition, while Boohoo is offering an invite-only, one day walking tour of its factories.