Although response to Taylor Swift’s folklore has been generally quite positive, there has been no shortage of jokes about the project’s aesthetic, including half-serious quips that the cover art borrows heavily from black metal or could pass for something on Sacred Bones. One such allegation was a bit more serious, though, and it has resulted in Swift making a switch.
The first single from folklore is “cardigan,” therefore Swift, never one to pass over a merch opportunity, is selling officially branded cardigans in her webstore. But as Seventeen points out, the logo on the official Taylor Swift folklore cardigan bore a close resemblance to the logo of the online clothing store The Folklore, which specializes in “exclusive styles from Africa and the diaspora’s top luxury and emerging fashion brands.” Insert your own Lady A joke here.
“This morning, it came to my attention that musician #TaylorSwift is selling merchandise to go along with her new album ‘Folklore,'” The Folklore founder Amira Rasool wrote on Instagram. “She is currently selling merchandise with the words ‘The Folklore’ printed on them. Based on the similarities of the design, I believe the designer of the merch ripped off my company’s logo. I am sharing my story to bring light to the trend of large companies/celebrities copying the work of small minority-owned business owners. I am not going to let this blatant theft go unchecked.” Along with a side-by-side comparison of the logos, Rasool included her own tweet, which reads, “Wait hold up. It’s one thing to use the name ‘Folklore’ but we’re out here stealing Black women’s logos too?”
In a subsequent interview with In Style, Rasool elaborated, “”It’s just very hard to believe that [Swift’s team] didn’t come across it. And if they did come across it — which I believe they did — for them to model Taylor’s merchandise on our logo, especially having seen what our company is about, is especially disheartening to me… I had people who asked me, ‘Oh, did you collaborate with Taylor on these?’ They just assumed that it was a collaboration because of how similar the logos are.”
Upon learning about Rasool’s concerns, Swift’s team removed “the” from the folklore cardigan and offered the following statement to Good Morning America: “Yesterday, we were made aware of a complaint that the specific use of the word ‘the’ before ‘folklore album’ on some of the folklore album merchandise was of concern. Absolutely no merchandise using ‘the’ before the words ‘folklore album’ has been manufactured or sent out. In good faith, we honored her request and immediately notified everyone who had ordered merchandise with the word ‘the’ preceding ‘folklore album’ that they will now receive their order with the design change.”
In response, Rasool tweeted, “I commend Taylor’s team for recognizing the damage the merchandise caused to my company @TheFolklore’s brand. I recognize that she has been a strong advocate for women protecting their creative rights, so it was good to see her team is on the same page.” She also told In Style, “Taylor’s team took swift action to have ‘the’ removed from all merchandise … It was a great first step and we are in conversation right now with Taylor’s team about the next steps to make this situation right.” It will be interesting to see what those steps might be.