Taylor Swift sent the entire internet into their feelings with the surprise release of her eighth studio album, Folklore, on Friday, July 24. To coincide with the album, Swift dropped a line of Folklore-inspired merchandise. Since she has a song called "Cardigan" on her record, she couldn't miss out on the opportunity to release a cardigan sweater as one of her products. While fans loved the design, a Black designer named Amira Rasool called Swift's team out, pointing out the similarities between her business's logo and Swift's new one. Taylor Swift's reaction to accusations she stole a Black-owned business's logo says a lot.
Rasool is the founder of a luxury online store called The Folklore, which delivers "Africa and the diaspora’s top contemporary designer brands" to customers, according to the store's Instagram. When Swift dropped her album's new merchandise, those who follow Rasool and shop at The Folklore immediately noticed the similarities in their logos and let her know.
"This morning, it came to my attention that musician [Taylor Swift] is selling merchandise to go along with her new album folklore. 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," Rasool wrote on Instagram on July 25. "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."
On Tuesday, July 30, Swift's team released a statement (via Good Morning America) acknowledging Rasool's concerns, and committed to fixing the situation, saying:
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.
Later, fans posted screenshots of emails they received announcing the update to their merchandise.
On Twitter, Rasool commended Swift's team for taking swift action. "I recognize that [Swift] 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 wrote.
Although the change to the logo seems small to fans, it's a big deal for a small business owner like Rasool. She doesn't have nearly as much power or recognition as a pop star like Swift, so advocating for her brand is imperative. And in a situation like this one, where she faces the prospect of being bullied by an entire fandom, it could not have been easy.
For what it's worth, Swift's actions to make things right did not end with changing her merch's logo. It was just a "first step," as Swift also announced she would be donating to the Black in Fashion Council, an organization launching in August that's dedicated to representing and securing the advancement of Black people in the fashion and beauty industries.