In 2017, Buki Ade — a Nigerian-American designer, debuted her Sahara swimwear collection under her Bfyne label. And this week, some of her older designs resurfaced at the 2018 Miami Swim Week — no-thanks to Brazilian designer, Silvia Ulson.
Ulson’s show resembled pieces direct from Ade’s 2017 collection. Bfyne noticed the swimsuits Ulson showcased as her own original designs on Instagram – which have since been deleted from her account and page, which is now private. The Brazilian designer explained to Fashion Week Online that she was inspired by the culture of Brazilian-Native Americans for this collection. However, the Nigerian-American designer’s receipts say otherwise.
Ade’s Nigerian roots were the inspiration for Bfyne’s Sahara collection. A representative from the brand told the Huffington Post, “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.”
There is no denying Ulson’s swimsuits are identical to Ade’s original pieces. The Bfyne representative told the HuffPost, “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.”
We’re not sure what’s worse: the plagiarism itself or that a mainstream designer would so openly steal from a Black designer as if it would go unnoticed.