Ethical Fashion & the Age of Integrity

The logo on the left is the original, while the logo on the right is what the followers of this startup brand all of a sudden found themselves following.

How did this happen? First, let me take you to the beginning.

"A Collective Story" was a brand started by a small team of designers with the idea that everyone's story is what makes them unique, and they wanted to celebrate it collectively. Fast forward to the launch and their social media was quickly growing its following. Then the pandemic hit and like many small brands it was having a hard time surviving. But that didn't stop the person who had access to the social media accounts from exiting the company, changing the logo and name to an eerily similar "new" brand "A Kindred Story", all the while keeping the amassed followers.

Is this legal? And even if somehow it is, is it #ethical?

At a time when consumers are awakening to how troubled the #fashion industry is (a huge environmental polluter, exploiter of wages, lack of diversity) we have this. #aKindredStory is but another empty brand with empty promises. With a message that avoids the often left-leaning "woke" label, "A Kindred Story" hides behind shallow and generic proclamations of love and kindness. Embedded in their name is the notion of kindred spirits. But when you pull back the curtains, you will find a disgruntled ex-president, clever enough to keep the social media account access and make a pivot, but not clever enough to realize that what we need right now is #integrity. Not only in the brands we choose to put our dollars in, but in the people we invest in to lift each other up instead of striking behind knees when we stand.

So who am I to write this post? I used to work for the company that started "A Collective Story" and I know the heart that was poured into developing this brand. These are hard-working individuals who worked weekends and took massive pay-cuts all the while the president never saw a penny leave her paycheck. A prime example of the privilege class taking what they think they deserve without paying back to the people who've helped them succeed.

The next time you see "A Kindred Story", ask yourself, is it kindred to steal intellectual property and followers for their own? Is it kindred to be #unethical?