Taylor Swift's team changes 'Folklore' logo after accusations of 'stealing' from a Black business owner

The controversy over the similar logos arose last Friday after Amira Rasool, owner of The Folklore, said she was “not going to let this blatant theft go unchecked.”
Image: Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift attends the American Music Awards in Los Angeles on Nov. 24, 2019.Jordan Strauss / Invision via AP file

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By Gwen Aviles

Taylor Swift’s team announced that they will be altering “folklore” merchandise in response to accusations that designers “ripped off” a logo from a Black-owned business.

"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," a Swift representative said in a statement provided to ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Tuesday, adding that “no merchandise” with the similar logos had yet 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."

The controversy over the similar logos arose last Friday after Amira Rasool, owner of The Folklore, a showroom specializing in fashion from Africa and the African diaspora, accused Swift of “stealing” her design on social media and said she was “not going to let this blatant theft go unchecked.”

"Wait hold up. Taylor Swift, it's one thing to use the name 'Folklore,' but we're out here stealing Black women's logos too?" Rasool tweeted.

“Based on the similarities of the design, I believe the designer of the merch ripped off my company's logo,” Rasool later elaborated on Instagram. “I am sharing my story to bring light to the trend of large companies/celebrities copying the work of small minority-owned business owners.”

Commentators online were divided over how to interpret Rasool’s accusation, with many showing their support for the business owner and stating that they hoped Swift’s team “apologizes and makes this right.” Others came to Swift’s defense and maintained that the logos weren’t that similar.

Neither Swift’s representatives nor Rasool responded to NBC News’ phone and email requests for comment, however, Rasool shared an update on social media after Swift’s team announced it would change the merchandise design.

“I commend Taylor’s team for recognizing the damage the merchandise caused to my company @TheFolklore’s brand,” Rasool wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “I recognize that she has been a strong advocate for women protecting their creative rights, so it was good to see her team was on the same page.”

However, Rasool said the adjustment to Swift’s merchandise is only a “great first step” and that she and her lawyers at Fenwick & West LLP are “in conversation” with Swift’s team. NBC News has reached out to Fenwick & West LLP for further information.

Swift responded to Rasool's post about speaking to her representatives Thursday, telling the business owner that she respects her work.

"Amira, I admire the work you’re doing and I’m happy to make a contribution to your company and to support the Black in Fashion Council (launching on 8/3) with a donation," Swift wrote.

The Black in Fashion Council is a collective dedicated to advancing Black creatives and calling for racial justice in the beauty and fashion industries.

Though “folklore” was released less than a week ago, it’s already breaking records. The surprise album set a new 24-hour streaming record on Spotify and Apple Music after it was streamed more than 80 million and 30 million times on the respective platforms and sold more than 1.3 million copies across the world over the course of 24 hours, according to Variety.