Fact Check

Did Guess Stop Bag Sales After Being Accused of Ripping Off the Telfar Bag?

There were a lot of visual similarities between the two bag designs.

Published Mar 30, 2021

Image Via Twitter
In late March 2021, fashion company Guess, Inc. discontinued sales of one of its bags after the company was accused by many on the internet of ripping off the Telfar bag’s look.

Fashion company Guess, Inc. has been accused by social media users of ripping off the bag design of Telfar, an independent Black-owned fashion label. In late March 2021, internet users noticed distinct similarities between Telfar’s hit vegan leather shopping bag, and Guess’ G-Logo totes.

The Telfar bag was so popular in 2020 that Oprah named it on her list of “favorite things.” Telfar Clemens and Babak Radboy, the team behind Telfar, learned about Guess’ bag in February 2021 when a friend emailed them about the bag. At the time, Radboy told The New York Times that they “weren’t afraid of it — and we didn’t want to draw attention to it.” He added that “the public could decide for us.”

And the internet noticed by late-March and appeared to overwhelmingly side with Teflar’s design, criticizing Guess for what they said was unabashed plagiarism. By March 29, 2021, Guess’ handbag licenser had withdrawn the bag from sales, and the brand issued a statement:

Signal Brands, the handbag licensee of Guess, Inc., has voluntarily halted the sale of its G-Logo totes. Some on social media have compared the totes to Telfar Global’s shopping bags. Signal Brands does not wish to create any impediments to Telfar Global’s success and, as such, has independently decided to stop selling the G-logo totes.

“It’s a great, happy ending,” Radboy said, after the Guess bag was withdrawn. And the internet agreed:

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.

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