Oaxaca’s Mixe Community Is Fighting Back After High-End Designer Isabel Marant Ripped Off Traditional Design

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Update, 12/7/15: A French court has ruled that Antik Batik does not own the design. “The court not only upheld that the design came from the said village, but that Antik Batik couldn’t claim any property rights on it either,” Isabel Marant’s lawyer, Jean-Marc Felzenzwalbe told WWD. Marant is set to meet with the Mixe community this week.


Earlier this year, Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec Mixe community was, rightfully, angry after they learned that French design house Isabel Marant was selling a $290 “bohemian” top that just was a straight rip off of their traditional huipil blouses. Last week, the Mixe community held an hour-long press conference to denounce the plagiarism, according to The Guardian. “Isabel Marant is committing a plagiarism because the Etoile spring-summer 2015 collection contains the graphical elements specific to the Tlahuitoltepec blouse, a design which has transcended borders, and is not a novel creation as is affirmed by the designer,” they said during the conference.

The group is seeking reparations and may take legal action.

Adriana Aguerrebere of Impacto said the Mixe people invited Isabel Marant to visit them and learn about their community and how the blouse is an important part of their history. Impacto is working toward protecting indigenous people’s work in the future.

Though the Mixe say the blouse is a part of their community, there’s a third party who has tried to take credit for the design, The Guardian notes. Marant was contacted by Antik Batik‘s legal team for possible infringement on their design. And in rebutting that pending allegation, it seems that Marant willingly admits that her “original” designs did, in fact, originate in Oaxaca.

“Before the district court of Paris, Isabel Marant is fighting to set the record straight: she has presented submissions which expressly point out that these designs come from the village of Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec in the province of Oaxaca, in Mexico …,” Marant’s team said. “Moreover, Ms Isabel Marant, after tracing the true origin of these clothes, officially informed the court: ‘For her part, Ms. Isabel Marrant does not claim to be the author of this tunic and these designs.’”

And if this story couldn’t get more confusing, there’s also an investigation into whether or not the Oaxaca design has been patented in France by Antik Batik.