clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

What’s a Ripoff When Everything Looks the Same?

New, 2 comments

Outdoor Voices and Bandier are embroiled in a knockoff debate.

Two models wear olive and pink crop tops.
Bandier’s new activewear line, We Over Me.
Photo: Bandier

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

The launch of We Over Me, a new workout line from Bandier with exclusive distribution on Net-a-Porter, is off to a rocky start. Over the weekend, Instagram commenters came out in droves to point out the visual similarities between We Over Me (stylized We/Me) and Outdoor Voices, the cool-girl activewear brand known for its colorblocked leggings and crop tops.

“I was excited bandier was carrying @outdoorvoices but then oh,” wrote one commenter on a Bandier post showing three models wearing gray and pink colorblocked tank tops and leggings.

“Oops. Spent too much time #copyingthings while @outdoorvoices was actually #doingthings,” wrote another, referencing Outdoor Voices’s slogan, #DoingThings.

Like Outdoor Voices, We Over Me showcases matching sets of crop tops and high-waisted leggings in pastels, gray, and navy. The colorblocking on We Over Me’s bottoms — three different shades, slicing their way down the leg at an angle — has become something of a calling card for Outdoor Voices, which was founded in 2014.

Two women wear color blocked olive, pink, and white leggings.
Bandier’s We Over Me leggings.
Photo: Bandier
A model wears green, teal, and white colorblocked leggings.
An outfit from Outdoor Voices.
Photo: Outdoor Voices

Outdoor Voices CEO Tyler Haney addressed We Over Me in an Instagram story, writing: “Each style in @bandier’s ‘new’ line is a rip off of an OV style. What kind of brand is WeMe @bandier? Embarrassed for you. People should boycott everything about you.”

Haney then showed screen caps of Outdoor Voices fans calling out Bandier in the comments before noting that the brand had blocked her on Instagram.

“It undermines creativity and originality. It’s obviously a problem across the industry and it’s refreshing to see a passionate community call it out,” wrote Haney in an email to Racked on Monday morning.

“It undermines our mission. We built OV as an inclusive, positive, supportive way to encourage people to start doing things. When other companies copy our product, it’s only one piece of it; they’re missing the bigger goal. We’re building something much bigger than ourselves, and we’re proud of it.”

The issue is, though, that the latest knockoff drama is bigger than Bandier and We Over Me.

“No one owns colorblocking,” said Bandier CEO Neil Boyarsky on a phone call this morning.

Boyarsky said he was shocked at the level of “vitriol” that came out on Instagram from fans of Outdoor Voices. In defense of We Over Me’s designs, he noted that colorblocking is not a new thing in fashion, adding that at this point, many activewear companies have tapped into the trend.

“It’s indistinguishable from brand to brand, and that’s the marketplace we live in today,” Boyarsky said.

He’s well-versed in the activewear market’s trends: Bandier is a multibrand e-commerce site, and one that has been entrenched in the workout space for a while.

Colorblocked leggings are indeed all over the place; you can find versions made by Chicos, Hard Tail, Zella, Free People, and Old Navy, to name just a few. We Over Me was far from the first brand to put out product that looked like Outdoor Voices’s. It raises the question: Where is the line between a ripoff and a wider, no-longer-original trend?