Brother Vellies designer Aurora James sounds off on knock-offs, fast fashion and the idea of appreciating art from afar.

Dominique Hobdy
Sep, 02, 2016

Zara is under fire yet again for allegedly stealing designs from an indie brand.

The latest instance comes from designer Aurora James of celebrated footwear and accessories brand, Brother Vellies.

Brother Vellies, a favorite among stars like Solange Knowles, is a sustainable line mostly sourced from African artisans. Owner and CFDA Fashion Fund winner Aurora James' designs have been every cool girl's go-to footwear choice for quite some time now.

So, when James became privy to Zara's $60 furry heels that nearly identical to her $715 Dhara sandals, she took to Instagram to vent -- writing in the caption: Stolen from Africa @zara #DharaSandals

Stolen from Africa @zara 😥 #DharaSandals

A photo posted by Aurora James (@aurorajames) on

James also penned an essay for i-D Magazine, addressing the topic of designer knock-offs, fast fashion and her mission to broaden the conversation surrounding design piracy.

Perhaps the most interesting (and valid) part of Aurora's commentary is the idea that even if a certain item isn't affordable for everyone, it can still be appreciated from afar.

"I choose to make my collection in a very sustainable way that gives back to the communities across Africa that I work with," she wrote. "That comes at a certain price and I understand that price may not be accessible to everyone. However, that does not give anyone the right to steal it from me. As humans there are some things we just can't have. That's okay. We must escape from the mentality that to appreciate we must own, to participate we must have. Support, appreciation and inspiration exist in many forms, lets explore these concepts in ways that uplift each other and help us all grow."

Let's talk about it! How do you feel about accessibility and fast fashion? Do you steer clear of big brands that copy indie designers or are you willing to wear the hottest trends regardless of where they stem from? Sound off.


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