H&M recalls kids clothes after copycat outcry

H&M recalls kids clothes after copycat outcry
Littlephant's design, left, and H&M's, right. Photo: Facebook
Swedish clothing giant H&M has pulled a line of children's garments after a small Swedish fashion house complained the outfits had almost exactly the same design as their own.

Staff members at Swedish clothing line Littlephant noticed on Friday that H&M's newest children's clothing line had a striking resemblance to their own. In fact, some garments were almost exactly the same. Their attempts to reach H&M, however, fell on deaf ears.

"The imitation wasn't flattering, it was horrible," designer Camilla Lundsten told The Local. "It was like being hit in the face."

Unable to get a response from the clothing giant, the team took to social media, posting a side-by-side comparison of a dress and some harlequin-styled trousers with the text: "Don't they have any creativity of their own?"

Within hours, over a thousand people responded on Instagram, and the response was similar on Facebook. 

Unable to reach H&M throughout the whole weekend and into Monday, Lundsten managed to get hold of a private email address to H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson and tried her luck there.

By Wednesday, an H&M spokesperson responded, informing the 41-year-old designer they would be pulling the line. During the night, she got another call with an apology.

"They called me and admitted they made a mistake," she said. 

"We're pleased they've thought about the moral of the issue, and I'm pleased they apologized. It's not fair to copy anyone, especially not a little Swedish company."

Littlephant, which started out two years ago in Sweden and is now in eight markets around the world, is a range of children's clothes and products based on characters in the book Lillefanten, which was penned and illustrated by Lundsten herself. Their official site promises that everything is "designed with a Swedish attitude and quirky expression".

But for now, Lundsten hopes the incident will act as a catalyst for further conversation on imagination and originality.

"We hope that this has started a discussion on creativity, how to use it, and how to be inspired by it," she told The Local. 

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