Two weeks ago, WeWoreWhat founder Danielle Bernstein was accused of stealing a mask design from the small Latina-owned brand By Second Wind. Fashion industry watchdogs Diet Prada acquired what appeared to be private messages between Bernstein and the small business, in which Bernstein asked for two masks with removable chains and then a few days later, told By Second Wind’s creator and sole employee Karen Perez that she was making her own, similar design—but didn’t want her to think she was “copying.” Now, Diet Prada has uncovered a second incident of Bernstein’s alleged, attempted thievery, this time involving shorts.
On July 15, Bernstein posted an Instagram photo of herself wearing loose-fitting, elastic-waist, marigold shorts that hit at the mid-thigh. She captioned it, “Woke up to so many DMs about these shorts... they’re vintage gym shorts from the ’90s and I’m already remaking them for my brand!” Except that wasn’t the whole story—the shorts were from a small Australian Etsy shop called Art Garments operated by Grace Corby; Bernstein had purchased the shorts on November 11, 2019, according to screenshots from Corby. “I hand source, shoot, edit and upload, measure & describe, hand wrap & post each piece myself.... it’s a labour of love and never really feels like work,” Corby told Diet Prada, explaining that the shorts are not from a vintage brand, as Bernstein had claimed, but are made by Art Garments and are currently available for pre-order. Apparently Corby saw a spike in sales from her shorts once Bernstein tagged them in her Instagram post but misidentified the item as a vintage, unique piece. That’s when Corby went back and found that Bernstein bought a pair from her last year.
“We all know fashion often references vintage, so I’m not sure why my pairs were chosen as a template and not a true ’90s gym short,” Corby told Diet Prada. “There are ethical ways to use vintage in the inspiration and design process. Tweaking and personalizing. Ensuring you’re not siphoning credit and revenue from a small Aussie shop.”
The shorts do look undeniably similar, though the design itself is pretty common:
Following the post, Bernstein amended her Instagram caption to read, “CORRECTION - these are from Etsy and I totally thought they were vintage but they are made to order - someone on my team ordered them for me a while back - I will not be making them!”
Corby’s shorts can be purchased here.