Forever 21 Under Fire For Ripping Off Kurt Cobain Design

By Zachary Swickey

Cheap-but-trendy fashion store for the ladies Forever 21 has come under the ire of Nirvana fans and fashion critics for blatantly ripping off a tee designed by the late Kurt Cobain way back in 1992. The singer notably wore his version of the shirt – a shark-like fish that he drew on a white T-shirt with a Sharpie – when Nirvana was the musical guest on “Saturday Night Live” that year. Cobain was known for crafting his own crudely made shirts, famously wearing one with the phrase “Corporate magazines still suck” for Nirvana’s appearance on the cover of Rolling Stone.

Forever 21 did not even credit the design origin to Cobain or Nirvana in any way on its site. Rather, it was described simply as a tee with a “sketched ‘Flipper’ graphic on front.” The clothing store has (smartly) pulled the shirt, which was originally available for the low price of just $16.90.

Unsurprisingly, Forever 21 is loathed in fashion circles for its frequent design infringements. Their list of infractions is lengthy: Diane von Furstenberg settled with the chain for duplicating her dress designs, Gwen Stefani sued them for ripping off her Harajuku Lovers line, and designer Anna Sui took them to court for selling numerous items that bared a striking resemblance to products she debuted at New York Fashion Week. The store was even accused of ripping off an interactive billboard installation in New York’s Times Square from an ’09 piece that was displayed in London by artist Chris O’Shea.

Hopefully the store is prepared for the certain impending wrath that Courtney Love will bring.