Doja Cat Accused Forever 21 of “Stealing from Small Businesses”

The brand tells Teen Vogue they “sincerely regret” the situation.
Doja Cat at the Vogue World fashion show during New York Fashion Week on September 12 2022 wearing jewelry by OHTNYC.
COMPOSITE. ORIGINAL IMAGE BY Gotham/GC Images via Getty.

Large fashion retailer Forever 21 is once again being accused of copying someone else’s designs and, this time, the situation involves Doja Cat.

Growing jewelry brand OHTNYC is known for its futuristic, gothic style jewelry with a recognizable aesthetic dominated by silver, crosses, and pearls. The brand, founded by Jinsol Woo, is a pop star favorite, with Western musicians and K-Pop idols alike regularly rocking the brand’s unique designs.

Over the weekend, Woo accused Forever 21 of copying an OHTNYC piece, specifically the brand’s Silver Cross Pearl Necklace, a design of layered stringed pearls with a cross pendant that has been worn by the likes of K-Pop stars Karina of Aespa and Lia of Itzy.

In a statement posted to OHTNYC’s Instagram profile, the brand claimed a piece being sold by Forever 21 “mimicked” the “exact design” of the Silver Cross Pearl Necklace. “We have been selling our Pearl Cross Necklace since January 2021, and recently @forever21 released a ‘Cross Pendant Faux Pearl Necklace’ which mimics our EXACT design,” reads the brand’s Instagram caption. “Hours were spent by our team brainstorming, perfecting, and making this design a reality. Each of our items [is] designed with utmost detail, and we create all of our designs with love and care."

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On September 23, a tweet by Doja Cat brought additional attention to Forever 21’s piece, which has a striking resemblance to the original design. “Stop f*cking stealing from small businesses it’s pathetic,” the artist wrote. “These people are my friends and all y’all do is leech. Do better how f*cking embarrassing.” When a fan replied to the tweet asking who Doja’s friend was so that others could share their support, the musician identified the brand as OHTNYC. (Doja has been seen sporting designs from the brand on social media multiple times.)

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The fast-fashion retailer's necklace has since been taken down from Forever 21’s website and the brand provided further clarification on the matter to Teen Vogue over email. “We sincerely regret that this happened and want to stress that it was never our intention to emulate the work of another designer,” the brand commented. 

“This specific design was sourced from a third-party vendor, however, once this was brought to our attention, the item was immediately removed from our website and stores,” Forever 21 continued. “We deeply respect and work to uphold design integrity and will continue to review our internal processes with both our teams and vendors to ensure that this does not happen again."