Cara Delevingne’s New Sweatshirt Is Mired In Controversy

This morning, Cara Delevingne posted an Instagram shot of herself and model Adwoa Aboah, each wearing sweatshirts emblazoned with the logo "The Future is Female." This sweatshirt is available at Represent for $39.99, and its listing refers to it as "a re-creation of the original shirt worn by Alix Dobkin in 1975 in a photograph by Liza Cowan." Dobkin was a well-known queer singer-songwriter, and she donned a shirt with the same slogan, designed by then-girlfriend Cowan, as part of Cowan's photo project. Details of the design's origins were detailed in a recent New York Times article.
The comments section of Delevingne's account quickly lit up upon the posting of this morning's image. Commenters pointed out how she and girlfriend Annie Clark, a.k.a. singer St. Vincent, had each been seen in shirts bearing the same phrase previously — shirts created by Los Angeles design collective Otherwild. The response was less than warm. "And as a queer woman yourself, the least you could [do] is support @otherwild," wrote Sabrina_Wreck.

"Really messed up that you blatantly ripped off @otherwild, a small, queer woman-owned business with no credit to the history of this shirt which was JUST featured in the @nytimes. Everyone else, if you want one of the shirts, really support the cause and buy it from" — Women's Center for Creative Work

"I love u Cara but u gotta give @otherwild credit this was not ur idea" — littlegayegg
Otherwild took to its own Instagram page, accusing Delevingne of stealing the idea in a now-deleted post. In its message, Otherwild encouraged its followers to comment on Delevingne's page in support for the brand. The company also said that Delevingne "has decided to rip-off our designs without notice." It also insists that she "has demonstrated a lack of politic, ethics or disregard for the legal tenets of design." Otherwild admitted that it doesn't actually own the copyright on the design. You can see a screenshot of the now-deleted comment, below.
Others posts soon followed, showing support for Otherwild — including lesbian culture Instagram h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y.
Delevingne replied in her own comments section, noting that Otherwild did not create the slogan.
The phrase "the future is female" dates back to at least 1975 and Otherwild is not the first to use it. That said, Delevingne had been given a shirt designed by Otherwild bearing the exact phrase. Neither Delevingne nor Otherwild responded to a request for comment at press time. OPENER IMAGE: Richard Young/REX Shutterstock.

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