A Brazilian designer named Silvia Ulson has been accused of stealing a bathing suit design from a Nigerian-American label, Bfyne led by Buki Ade.
Ulson’s design was seen on the runway during Miami Swim Week, and many believe that the designs are a direct copy of looks found in the Bfyne swimwear line, specifically from their 2017 “Sahara” collection.
A representative for Bfyne told Huffington Post in a statement that Ulson’s latest collection bore a striking resemblance to its own 2017 “Sahara” collection, which was inspired by the brand’s Nigerian culture.
“That was extremely important for us to execute properly. We wanted to bring sexy to dashiki print and change the way the print was being looked at, ultimately transforming it into something no one has ever seen before” Bfyne’s rep said.
“It came to us as a complete surprise how another designer is allowed to showcase replicas and claim it as her work during Miami Swim Week,” Bfyne’s rep said. The rep also called out Ulson for having models wear feather headdresses at the runway show, suggesting that the accessories were meant to ”deceive people to think the print and design were Native American-inspired.”
Ulson however explains that her inspiration was not stolen. Instead, she was inspired by “indigenous Brazilian culture”.
“I went to a tribe and spent two days there. That’s what we used for the headdresses. So upon returning from there, I made the black-and-white bikinis that were also shown, and thought it would be interesting to have some bikinis with prints mixing the indigenous paintings that they paint on their body. For the Brazilian Indians, each painting has a meaning” Ulson told Fashion Week Online.