Taylor Swift accused of copying ‘The Folklore’ label of a Black-owned business

Emma Roberts out shopping for new magazines

I’ve written up a story, which will come a bit later, about how Taylor Swift’s folklore seems to be relatively light on blind-item conspiracies and snake drama. Which is all a massive relief – she’s 30 years old and it was past time for her to drop the middle-school-level conspiracies and whisper campaigns. But there is still one drama, one week after Taylor released her album. Apparently, Taylor originally labeled her merchandise “The Folklore.” Except that was the name of a black-owned apparel business for African fashion. YIKES!

Taylor Swift did a quick rebrand in response to a complaint from the owner of a website with the same name and a similar logo to the one found on the merchandise for her new album.

According to Women’s Wear Daily, the pop star changed the name for her merchandise from “The Folklore” to simply “Folklore” after Amira Rasool, the owner of The Folklore, a website for African apparel and accessories designers, complained that it was causing confusion amongst customers. Rasool had her lawyers reach out to Swift’s team to draw their attention to the similarity of both the name and logo design.

“The main thing was having ‘The Folklore’ when the album was just called ‘Folklore,’” Rasool explained to WWD. She said that she also believes that the way the word “the” is positioned vertically in the logo is too similar to her own. Swift is currently selling sweatshirts, t-shirts, and cardigans to promote her new album that all feature this design.

Rasool says the singer’s team responded immediately and will remove the “The” from all merchandise. Their lawyers are also still in conversation “about next steps.” “I commend them for removing that, but I think there’s a larger conversation that needs to be had,” she said. “It’s not just damaging to one Black woman, it’s all the brands that we work with.”

She adds that Swift’s fans have attacked her for speaking out, “calling me a bitch and a liar,” and while the Swifties have accused her of being merely an attention seeker, Rasool counters, “I think there was a lot of damage to my brand for me speaking out. I don’t think I deserved that.”

Swift’s publicist declined to comment on the WWD story.

[From Vanity Fair]

This reminds me a bit of the Lady Antebellum issue – surely, Taylor’s legal/marketing team did basic internet searches to see if any other businesses had the name “The Folklore,” just as Lady Antebellum had the resources to know about the performer Lady A. So why did Lady Antebellum and Taylor Swift go ahead with their branding/rename even with the knowledge of black artists or black-owned businesses using those names? Maybe Taylor truly didn’t know about “The Folklore” when she originally labeled her merchandise that, but also… did Taylor honestly think that she was the first person ever to label anything “folklore” or “The Folklore”? Why didn’t her lawyers do their due diligence? That’s what I don’t get. But yes, there is a larger conversation to be had because this kind of thing keeps happening, where white artists feel like no one will notice if they hijack a black artist’s name or a black-owned business’s brand name.

Amira Rasool also issued this statement:

Here’s an example of the similar logos. YIKES.

Taylor Swift attends the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Golden Globes, at Hotel Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, USA, on 05 January 2020. | usage worldwide

Photos courtesy of Taylor’s social media & Avalon Red.

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102 Responses to “Taylor Swift accused of copying ‘The Folklore’ label of a Black-owned business”

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  1. Jo73c says:

    one simple google search…

  2. Jodi says:

    honestly, i feel like this is kind of a non-story. i don’t know the ins and outs of the copywrite thing but i wonder if it’s two different lines of businesses (apparel vs music) whether that makes a difference in terms of use (i have absolutely no idea) but either way, it sounds like they caught their mistake and quickly changed it up…so, non-story?

    • Blinkbanana says:

      It’s a story. They didn’t think The Folklore brand was worth bothering with, because brand Swift is a bigger machine. It’s dismissive and reeks of white privilege. I’m glad minority communities and small businesses are standing up and embarrassing these artists.

      Also, this album is super dull. I feel like the only person who doesn’t get it. But then I’m not a fan of her music generally. Laura Marling is so much better for folk.

      • Rani says:

        @Blinkbanana, just commenting to second the Laura Marling appreciation. She is absolutely fantastic – skilled musician, beautiful voice, and amazing lyrics.

    • Eenie Googles says:

      How can you look at that logo and NOT think it’s stolen? It’s very clearly a ripoff and they didn’t think anyone would notice.

    • roxy says:

      Agree. I don’t see the similarity beyond the generic words

    • Sojaschnitzel says:

      I was initially thinking the same as @Jodi: different lines of business -> no big deal. It’s very common to have brands with the same name but completely different lines of products, and they happily coexist. BUT: look at the logo. Just look at that twitter link. That is not okay. So this is very clearly a story.

      • sassafras says:

        The twitter pic of the 2 logos was on the 24th. Clearly, it was noticed and by the 28th, the teams were talking and the merch was pulled. During corona, with the shipments and delivery systems being ALLLLL kinds of f’d up and the short notice of the album, I’m assuming it will take a few days to figure out what the damage is , where items are and what the plan is. It’s a story but are we really going to spend our attention on this? Of all people I trust to address this, it’s actually Taylor, given her history and causes.

    • MissMarierose says:

      It’s not two types of business, though. Swift is selling apparel with her album’s title, using the same name and font as Rapool’s apparel brand.

      • Jodi says:

        all good points – i am unable to click that link until off work but if it’s as you say…definitely a story!

        updated to add: just googled the logo – DEFINITELY too similar but i’m encouraged that she didn’t battle this and just changed it. sounds like the company was satisfied with that as well.

    • Arpeggi says:

      Considering everything that Swift has tried to copyright in the past (didn’t she try to copyright “Welcome to New York”?), yeah, it matters a bit

  3. Anony83 says:

    One issue you run into with instances like this is that there’s kind of a gap between what will “look good” in terms of publicity and what a trademark attorney will look for in terms of potentially infringing materials (especially depending on whether the artist involved intends to register a trademark). Copyright protection is even looser.

    It’s not an excuse (and definitely not for Lady A – they’re in the same industry and the likelihood of confusion seems high) and both the attorneys involved and the publicists need to be more understanding of this as a holistic question and not just a purely legal question, but I would bet that’s what’s happening. Lawyers are looking at the purely legal question of whether the two marks infringe and are likely to cause confusion is a separate one from “would it look good if we look like we’re knocking off this brand” – if that makes sense.

    • Ashley says:

      That totally makes sense. This is not an apples to apples situation like Lady A at all, so I’m guessing there was a lot more legal nuance.

      • MarcelMarcel says:

        I think that either Taylor stuffed up or her team gave her sh*t advice. Like maybe the PR people & the lawyers need to communicate better. Because it does negatively impact Taylor Swift’s newish public image as a feminine singer who cares about positive social change.
        As a white womxn I can assure we’ll know soon if it’s her mistake. Performative activism from white womxn usually manifests in valuing profit & relationships with white racists over BLM. So if she cares she’ll issue a statement in support of Amira Rasool. Then she’ll donate to a worthy organisation or charity and publicise that to encourage her fans to donate or do something positive.
        That’s the basic template of how Taylor expressed solidarity for Kesha Rose. It was an entirely different situation I realise! But Taylor’s consistency in how she publicly expresses approval or disapproval is a part of her enduring fame imo

  4. Becks1 says:

    People buy tshirts and stuff for an album?

    I’m glad Taylor’s team responded so quickly, but there should have been some due diligence on their part as well.

    Also, the Swifties need to back off. WTF.

    • Darla says:

      LOL Becks, really? I still have my 1989 Rolling Stones Steel Wheels concert tee. Among many others, but that one holds particularly awesome memories. Yes! We do!

      • Becks1 says:

        No, for a concert I totally get it! I have tshirts and sweatshirts from concerts. Just not for an album by itself. But maybe this is in advance of the tour?

      • Darla says:

        I never did buy anything from an album before, always just the concerts. But since this is really the pandemic album for me, and there can’t be any concerts, I really wanted it. It’s a different world, hopefully temporarily! and it’s for me very similar to getting a concert tee or hat.

      • Lady D says:

        I still have mine too, Darla. I watched them in ’89 in Vancouver. It was a great concert.

    • osito says:

      Yep! This was even an issue between Nikki Minaj and another artist (I want to say Travis Scott) a year or two ago about it. Nikki was angry that she got knocked off number 1 on the billboard charts by Scott because he outsold her by 200k units of… merchandise. But each unit of merch came with an album, which is really common now. So let’s say someone buys an album, then buys a hat, a shirt, and a hoodie — they’ve just purchased *four* albums because each non-album item came bundled with an album. Considering that artists tend to have much better back-end deals through their merchandise than they do with albums (the companies reap the benefits of those), it makes sense that they sell just about anything they can think of. It’s not a fair or just system, but it’s the way it works.

      • Becks1 says:

        Huh. I had no idea. That’s crazy. I guess its how things go these days, but man, tells you how long since I’ve bought an album.

      • rabbled says:

        There are so many loopholes and exploitation practices when it comes to label’s getting their artist to chart. The Black Keys explained how the labels sell ticket/album bundles to make the album ‘sales’ but the artist loses that amount of money off the top.

        Concerts that artists KNEW were going to be cancelled were used for charting this last quarter.

        Billboard changed their merch bundle charting bc it was getting out of hand and Taylor dropped her album before the deadline with tons of merch and tons of album varieties. The knew rules will have the album as an ‘add on’ option for merch but of course it’s almost comical bc those album prices are approx. $3. It’s just another loophole to fake billboard charts and exploit artists.

        Also, while we are all living in this misery while watching current events, Billboard bought their outside auditing system Nelson Music. and Liberty media has more stake in iHeart radio creating two systems of monopoly in the music industry that will determine most things for the general public for a long time in the future.

        I want to post a long rant about a group I follow that has tons of success without any of these tricks but it’s just too much to get into.

      • Scotchy says:

        @Rabbled high fives to all you just wrote.
        It is such such a racket and with Billboard and Neilson Music being owned by the same company along with RollingStone Magazine for that matter, it’s a total market where if you aren’t on the inside you have to resort to being really crafty outside of the bubble to get anywhere in music (I am in the business and have been for 15 years and it’s crazy the level of corruption that exists behind the scenes)

  5. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    The fonts! Dayum.

    • Darla says:

      the fonts don’t look the same at all to me, but I think this whole thing is a huge stretch.

      • Silver Charm says:

        Agree. This is a reach but she/her team should have checked.

        She does need to tell her fans to back off.

      • Darla says:

        Definitely, name calling is out of bounds. I really don’t know what possesses people to do this. Some say stan culture, and probably, but also, you see it happen with many things not involving celebrities.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        the fonts don’t look the same to me, either. doesn’t even look like Swift’s is the italic version of Rasool’s font.

        however, Swift should have checked…folklore is a common enough word but “the folklore” is NOT a common combination of words. it’s good that she changed it.

    • lucy2 says:

      I don’t think the fonts are the same, but the vertical placement of “the” is very similar. I don’t know if this is a case of the graphic design people straight up copying the other logo, or just not researching enough to see what else was already out there, especially given that “folklore” is a common word. There’s at least 8 or 9 other albums on itunes alone that are titled “Folklore”.

      Either way, I’m glad her team dealt with it quickly, and I hope it wasn’t damaging to the other business.

  6. Darla says:

    I will probably be kicked off of here for saying this, but…I bought the hat.

    I love the album and I wanted the hat, sue me! Kick me out of your cool kids internet club, go ahead. As a Big Bang Theory Superfan, I was never gonna get in it anyway! lol Oh you know what? This just made me think I would love a Sheldon Cooper hat! i’m gonna go see if I can find one now!

    • Case says:

      The hat is so cute! I bought the white and grey marbled pullover and the vinyl! I’m so excited about it. I’m a Taylor fan so I have merch from her previous tours, and thought this would be particularly special given that it is an album that came out at such a unique moment in time. It very likely won’t get a tour so this is the time to buy merch!

  7. shabs says:

    seems a bit of a non-issue, not quite sure why it’s becoming a race thing.

    The logo’s are so uninspired it’s literally just folklore and the fonts aren’t even the same. Despite this she’s changed the logo anyway.

    • tanesha86 says:

      It’s always white people who can’t seem understand “why it’s become a race thing” and that just goes to show how privileged you truly are. Race is ALWAYS a factor when you’re a POC, it affects literally every aspect of your life and society will never let you forget it either. I’m sick and tired of y’all being so dismissive and snide on this site, some of y’all are truly clueless.

      • Ashley says:

        I’m half-Black and I don’t think it’s a race thing. Totally on the side of Lady A, that was egregious. But I’m having a hard time with this one because they are in 2 different industries and I think, business wise, this will only help the clothing store.

      • Shabs says:

        Wow, what a an assumption to make. I’m not white.

    • Eenie Googles says:

      So you think the vertical “the” next to the word folklore is just 100% coincidence? That touch along with that relatively uncommon word happening at the same time were 100% an accident? And the use of the same font on top of that (because they *are* the same font—one is just in italics with a lowercase “f”) that’s just another wacky coincidence?
      Even if you buy all that, then have to assume the graphic design team for Swift ALSO didn’t google “the folklore” and hit image search like any halfway decent designer would do a dozen times throughout the process. The professional design team for one of the biggest entertainment stars in the planet didn’t once do a google image search.
      Mmkay.
      Check the website—maybe she’s selling a bridge fans can buy too!

      • Darla says:

        The fonts are absolutely not the same font. Everything else is subjective, but that is objectively two different fonts.

      • Eenie Googles says:

        They are both round serif fonts. If you italicize the first font, it may not be identical but it would be very close. Go ahead and find the first one, change the first letter and put it in italics. They are very similar fonts.

        Also one coincidence? Fine. All of them?
        Come on.🙄

      • El says:

        @Eenie Googles,
        so you really think that Taylor Swift’s team found this store’s logo, said “we can’t do better”, ripped it off deliberately, as is, just to spite a Black woman, and ran with it, knowingly exposing themselves to a law suit and a racial scandal? If that sounds more plausible to you, then maybe you should buy that bridge.
        The/no the and its placement are quite common, neither team did anything unique here. Both were clearly looking for “folksy” fonts, thus the similarity. If this store is small, it may not have popped up in a Google search early enough – it’s probably impossible to verify that now that the story broke, but I think this explanation is far more likely than yours.

      • shabs says:

        Yes, I think it’s perfectly feasible for things like this to happen by chance without any malicious intent behind it. I don’t think this is a case TS trying to use her white privilege against a black woman.

        I’m sure this kind accidental similarity happens all the time between businesses, individuals, etc whether they be white, black, brown.

        As El says if they knew, they likely would have avoided it to avoid scandal.

  8. Allergy says:

    “Folklore” is like “fairytale,” it’s not specific like “Lady Folklore” or something like that would be. I don’t think anyone would confuse an album and a clothing store. Nearly every ordinary word is used in some business, somewhere.

    • Darla says:

      Exactly

    • Case says:

      Agreed.

    • Sunday says:

      Yea, that’s not how the internet works. First of all, Swift is selling clothing as part of her album launch, so there absolutely is an overlap there that would completely usurp this independent, Black woman-owned business’s entire SEO strategy and social presence by dominating everything with Taylor Swift. It’s like setting up a lemonade stand and having someone build a Starbucks on top of you.

      The name alone would not have been trademark enforceable because you’re correct that Music and Fashion would be two separate industries in which that name could be trademarked. But when you move to selling clothing under a logo that is suspiciously like the already existing one, right down to the vertical THE, it is an issue and, frankly, a huge surprise considering how carefully planned Taylor’s campaigns usually are.

      At the most basic level, think of how annoying and actually perverse it would be if, as a Black woman you had built your own brand from the ground up to reflect your African culture, and suddenly all the hashtags you usually use are being positively flooded with thousands of 14 year old white girls posing in crop tops. It would be infuriating at any time, but in this climate? Demoralizing.

      I trust Taylor to handle this in a responsible way, and it’s nowhere near as bad as the Lady A thing, but this was so easily avoidable and it just serves as another example of how truly invisible Black women and women of color are in this country.

      • El says:

        @Sunday
        I agree with you there. I think this was a ridiculous oversight (I’m guessing heads are rolling on TS’s team), not a deliberate rip-off, but regardless, they need to make it right by that woman.

      • osito says:

        Thank you, Sunday. You’re on point.

      • Rani says:

        @Sunday, I agree. You explained very well why this does matter.

    • roxy says:

      Totally right. A non issue

  9. souperkay says:

    Everything was labeled “THE folklore Album” on her merchandise but thankfully all merchandise was in pre-order status so Taylor could remove the “THE” to help delineate between her work & Amira’s work.

  10. Biff says:

    A bit OT, but does anyone else here suffer from «font-blindness»? I just get confused looking at things like this, and it reminds me of writing essays in school and never being 100% sure if I had written them in times new roman or calibri or dingwings

  11. roxy says:

    It’s a generic word with “the”. Don’t think this is an issue at all but good for Taylor for changing anyway.

  12. Marigold says:

    I absolutely get it…but the logos are not even similar except for the vertical “the.” Again, however, this should never have made it to production in a business brand as big as Taylor’s. It just shouldn’t have.

    The fonts are different. The feel of it is totally different. It’s absolutely not an intentional rip-off, and it’s really a stretch to accuse it of being one.

    Having said that, the shape of the words is similar enough that they should have avoided it, and any graphic designer working on that album should be ashamed. Simple Google search, my dudes. What WERE you thinking?

  13. Turtledove says:

    I always get so confused by this sort of thing, when people use a name or theme in their business that is not an original thought. Folklore is an old idea that has probably been used by many, many artists before. Same as “fairy tales” or “myths’ etc.

    I do think “The Folklore” is a bit more specific. And I also recognize that Swift has a marketing machine and one would think they would have seen this other company. I am not in that kind of business, but I would think that anyone as big as Swift would have marketing/legal teams watching out for exactly this kind of conflict.

    If they did see this business previously and decided “who cares, small potatoes” that is really shitty. if it is any consolation, i bet they are losing huge amounts of money re-doing their merch. Sucks that the owner of the smaller company is being hassled by Swift fans though.

    Also, I googled and the first thing I found was “The Folklore Company” which deals in embroidery.

  14. Enny says:

    Taylor is a pop star, but some of her music (especially earlier when she was more of a pop-country singer) would be considered “folk music” I suppose. Anyway, I doubt that it was intentional on her part, especially since “folklore” is hardly an obscure word, especially in artistic communities. If anything, the graphic designer could be faulted for ripping off the logo, and Taylor would absolutely rely on her team for this sort of due diligence (it’s not unreasonable that Taylor herself wasn’t googling this stuff when she pays entire teams to take care of these things), but I don’t think they’re all that similar. At least from a legal/IP perspective. That said, I’m glad that smaller, especially black-owned, businesses are at least starting these conversations and working to protect their businesses, even if there was no actual infringement (or at least not intentional infringement). It’s a good thing for all artists and other high-profile businesses to have these issues in the backs of their minds and to be conscious of the possible ramifications for smaller businesses and lesser-known artists going forward…

  15. Case says:

    I mean, it was a mistake and they remedied it right away. Yes, perhaps her lawyers should’ve done more careful research but folklore is a common enough word that I’m sure is used in all sorts of ways and I don’t think it was an intentional rip-off. They did the right thing by immediately changing the merchandise. Nothing like the Lady A situation.

  16. Div says:

    Unpopular opinion. This is nothing like Lady Antebellum & Lady A & I doubt Taylor, who is a savvy businesswoman it must be said, was even aware. Girl doesn’t design her own merch & while I’m sure she signs off on it…I doubt she personally checks out every little bit.

    But for real…folklore and the folklore are very common words. The design is also very common, in having the or an a vertically next to a horizontal word. I know two different restaurants that have their name designed that way for their logo down to a small the in the same placement. It’s clearly two different fonts. I’m sure they googled but didn’t think it was close enough to be an issue. I’m somewhat familiar with how this works and there is always commonality 99% of the time.

    I suspect her team settled this quickly because they didn’t want the PR of “Taylor (even tho it’s not Taylor directly) steals from a Black business”. And before someone goes off on me, I’m Black and I’m well aware of appropriation & stealing of Black women’s work. I just think this is a major stretch if you’re familiar with how this sort of thing works.

  17. AMM says:

    Putting The before Folklore doesn’t even make sense for Taylor to do. I’m glad she removed it, but I can’t see the point in having it in the first place.

    • sarah says:

      It’s not just “the folklore” on its own on Taylor’s merch. Its “the folklore album” which makes sense. That said, “Folklore album” makes just as much sense so I’m guessing that was why she was so quick and happy to drop the “the” when this issue broke.

  18. Kate says:

    I just looked at The Folklore website and their stuff is really cool – I’m glad I’m stuck at home and don’t have an excuse to buy expensive clothes rn.

    I can see why a business wouldn’t want an international pop superstar to cash in on its name (and logo) even though they are in different industries. To any new customer, the store would always look like it had stolen Taylor’s album name which would be a weird branding move from an African clothing retailer.

  19. Kimberly says:

    The actual label says THE Folklore ALBUM. Any due diligence likely included searches for albums/music of that name. But the issue was brought to her attention and she responded/resolved it immediately.

  20. Sunday says:

    It is absolutely wild to me how many people are falling all over themselves making excuses for Taylor Swift. She is one of the richest, most famous, and most influential women on the planet who has made it a point (especially recently) to present to the world an image that is caring, considerate, compassionate. She has myriad lawyers and staff whose only job is to make sure stuff like this never happens, ever.

    Even if there is no legally enforceable infringement here, how can anyone think it is a good look for an artist who is publicly supporting BLM and trying to appear “on the right side of history” after years of criticism for not speaking out, to decide to use a logo that was extremely similar to one already in use by a Black woman owned business?

    This is the bare minimum that Black people and POC are asking for – support from privileged allies. Not having a vertical THE in a logo? The bar is on the floor. There are infinite other designs they could have used. Taylor is not a lawyer and it is not her job to do her own due diligence, but her team absolutely dropped the ball on this one, and it’s just a reminder of how dismissive white people can be to micro aggressions or experiences that BIPOC are faced with on a daily basis.

    • tanesha86 says:

      The bar is in hell. These people are jumping through all kinds of hoops and making nonsensical excuses and all they’re doing is making themselves sound borderline unhinged. Y’all get so weird on this site when Taylor Swift gets brought up. I like her well enough but she messed up and that’s an irrefutable fact, let her own it and make amends.

      • tasi says:

        She already changed it. What other amends does she need to do?

      • Sunday says:

        @tanesha IN.HELL!

        @tasi amends shouldn’t have been necessary because it never should have happened in the first place.

        Great that she’s already changed it, but Taylor needs to make sure this woman is financially compensated for any damage to her business and reputation (she’s literally getting death threats from Swifties for this). Taylor also needs to fire whoever on her team was responsible for this (the designer, the lawyers, the marketing managers, etc), and make sure that her team has enough BIPOC representation to help prevent this from every happening in the future. Quietly changing it while declining to comment publicly is not anywhere near good enough.

      • tasi says:

        Financially compensated? For driving traffic and tons of potential customers to her site? LMAO. I’d be interested if she tries to sue and let’s see what damage she can prove. If she can even prove there was infringement or copyright issues which I doubt

      • osito says:

        “The bar is in hell.” I died.

      • Beach Dreams says:

        I feel like a lot of Taylor’s fans/sympathizers see themselves in her (a different conversation that needs to be had), leading to the constant excuses for her flaws and fck ups over the years.

      • El says:

        @Beach Dreams
        I can’t stand her music and used to despise her schtick, the only thing that changed my mind was the coverage she recently received on this site. So, you feel wrong. I don’t see myself in Taylor and I’m more inclined to criticize her than excuse her.

    • Xantha says:

      It’s even more egregious when one remembers that Taylor’s legal team has gone after people who’ve done this to her. It was so common place that her fans made a meme out of it (See you in court).
      So yes she and her legal team should’ve known better.

      • Beach Dreams says:

        LOL exactly. No excusing this one.

      • lucy2 says:

        Her legal team is overly aggressive, IMO. I can understand them taking down unlicensed stuff that had her album artwork on it, but they went after people making items with some of her lyrics, which were very, very common phrases (haters gonna hate), and other things that were very generic too.

        Yet they never seem to work that hard when it’s the other way around, making sure Team Taylor isn’t copying someone else…

      • yinyang says:

        Very true, and didn’t Taylor Swift Inc. trademark “never go out of style”, lol, this is just up her ally. It’s interesting how Swifties claim everything she does is her own merit, but when these things come up her team takes the fall. Anyway the logo is just too similar, I think they knowingly took it, they couldn’t resist, now it’s got the exposure they wanted and the narratvie linked to taylor, now they’re backtracking when the damage is done. Imho.

    • sassafras says:

      If anything, I’m not making excuses for Taylor Swift. I’m making excuses for the lawyers and the design firm and the manufacturing people who maybe got a month’s notice that this album was coming out and they were super stoked to have some billable hours and gig work and they rushed the whole thing because HELLO MONEY in a corona time. The world is f’ed, people make mistakes and if it doesn’t get fixed, then hell yeah I’ll be incensed but every piece of evidence says it’s going to be fixed and until then I’m going to give “the team” (which contains hard working people) some grace.

  21. Veronica S. says:

    This is…unfortunate, but it’s one of the cases where I don’t actually think it was maliciously intended out even outright an attempt to steamroll over the brand. The font is different, and that vertical alignment isn’t even an uncommon design method these days. I’m glad they responded and changed it for the owner’s sake because Taylor Swift has enough brand power that it won’t affect them to make that alteration, whereas this could have seriously impacted the other owner. Amazing how many big name brands are resistant to even compromising on that small level.

  22. osito says:

    I will again urge everyone to take a deep breath, believe black women when we say something is hurting us, and acknowledge that that’s exactly what Taylor’s team did. Your opinions are slanted to *again* cape for a white woman who likely had very little to do with the graphic design of her project, and who may not (gasp!) have come up with the title. That could have been a team decision, and the design was definitely a team decision, so handling the complaint was something the team took care of *as they should*.

    How there are any comments like “I dunno. I just don’t see it…” is beyond me because it *doesn’t matter if you see it*. It’s not *your* business you’re trying to protect. Just have some empathy and think about what would happen if *you* had a business that an insanely famous person came along and smothered with the push of a button.

    I’m personally and professionally connected to *a lot* of artists and musicians. In fact, one of my main duties for my job is to work with graphic teams and designers to *check our work* to ensure that things like this don’t happen. The few who brought up “googling” as an early obligation when making something for public consumption are absolutely correct. Someone on her team who was involved in creating this “small” aspect googled it to see if other artists were using this phrasing in any context, saw an African label/distributor/brand aggregator and shrugged thinking they could get away with it. I’ve been following The Folklore for years because they have gorgeous photos on their Insta. They’re a big enough brand for an American who will likely never be able to afford to shop with them to notice them, they’re big enough for people whose literal job it is to catch stuff like this to notice them.

    • sassafras says:

      I believe Black women 100%. I also believe that a “team” is made up of regular people who are trying very hard to keep their jobs right now and might have f’d up and they shouldn’t get fired (necessarily) during a depression. People can admit they’ve screwed up, can make amends. The Folklore deserves the fruits of their labor. Taylor’s “team” deserves grace. Both can be true.

      (And I’m putting “team” in quotes because I don’t know how much of this was in house/ contracted/ etc. )

      • osito says:

        Grace and “I don’t get it/They did nothing wrong/those aren’t even the same” are two different things. I think “the team” did exactly what they were supposed to do once the problem came to light. It’s *the comments* at this point on this site, and the actual harassment the owner of The Folklore has faced from Swift’s fans (who, to wit, are not on the payroll!) that are crazy-making. The comments are not aligning with “believe black women,” the comments are stumping for this as a non-issue. It’s not a non-issue to the business owner. It’s not a non issue for Taylor Swift because even though she probably didn’t do anything wrong it compromises her integrity as the face of her brand. It definitely compromises the professionalism of her team — whoever made the mistake will live to work again on other projects (and definitely got paid for this one), I’m sure, but they’ll probably leave this off the resume. Maybe. Again, so many people are like “But whatevs” about it that maybe we’ve sunk too far for even the people who made the mistake to really see the problem.

  23. JillyBean says:

    Folklore was a course and a Bachelors degree at my university. I don’t understand ownership of anyone on this word. Same thing for story or myth or fairytale. They are concepts.

    • Enny says:

      The word itself is certainly public domain. With “the” in front of it, maybe it could be trademarked…maybe. But it’s a stretch.

      I 100% believe that the business owner felt trampled on, and I’m glad Taylor’s team took her seriously and took quick steps to remedy the issue.

      As a lawyer, I don’t think Taylor or her team infringed on this business or its intellectual property, however, i think Taylor should make a statement clarifying the steps she took as trying to work fairly, and in good faith, with a hard-working businesswoman, and she should certainly call out her fans for harassing and vilifying said businesswoman. She should make it clear that she supports this woman’s mission and livelihood, and that she does not condone, in any way, her fans’ actions. She should make clear that she is one businesswoman supporting another businesswoman, and she does not need nor want her fans to interfere in a decision she made, which she believes makes business sense, in which she personally believes wholeheartedly, and which she believes is just and fair.

  24. Grant says:

    Am I the only one who thinks that Folklore (the album) kind of sucks? The first few songs are good, but it all sounds the same. I got bored and switched to Dula Peep.

    • osito says:

      You and a Pitchfork editor who apparently got doxxed with pictures of her home being circulated by Swift’s fans. But as someone said just below this, death threats from the fans are “an honor,” so enjoy it I guess…

      *ETA — sorry, I was wrong…not an honor, but a “win-win”…so get ready to win! Also, to be clear, I am being wholly sarcastic. That win-win comment is reprehensible.

  25. Marigold says:

    The logos are similar. Taylor fixed it immediately. There was zero damage done to the lady’s business. Millions of people now know who she is. I went to website and checked it out. It’s pretty cool. Seems like a win win to me. She couldn’t have bought this kind of exposure.

    • El says:

      @Marigold
      I literally know nothing about this, but I also assumed that this could bring valuable exposure, rather than damage? Does anyone know how this works and can estimate whether this helps or hurts the business?

    • Faithmobile says:

      Death threats sound like “a win win” to me too. What’s the big deal? I actually don’t see font so can’t imagine why anyone would care about logos or copyrights. POC need to stop complaining when white people bring attention to their little brands.
      *sarcasm

      • Marigold says:

        Well. I didn’t realize she had death threats. OBVIOUSLY that is awful. But keep on with your sarcasm.

        Her Twitter is very positive about how things went. So I think things will work out for her. I am HAPPY about that for her. Why aren’t you?

    • Beach Dreams says:

      Threats and harassment from Taylor’s unhinged fans are a “win-win”?

    • lucy2 says:

      Given that she’s receiving threats and being personally trashed by Swift fans, that probably weighs a bit more heavily on her than increased traffic to her site (which may or may not result in more sales).
      Plus she had to have her lawyer contact Swift’s people and hash out the issues, which isn’t free. I’m glad Swift’s team took quick action rather than fighting it, and hopefully it’s resolved to Rasool’s satisfaction.

  26. Beech says:

    I went to look through the site and there are some dresses I love. Price wise they are too rich for me But they offer interest free installment payments!

    • osito says:

      I’m on a strict “if I can’t pay it off immediately, I do my need it” budget diet, but their curation and presentation of African designers is *gorgeous*. I’m never disappointed when they pop up in my feed.

  27. Misbehavin says:

    Many thanks to Sunday and Osito for their posts. The completely dismissive attitude towards a businesswoman just because “I don’t see it” or “folklore is a concept” is, per usual for what this site has seemed to become recently, infuriating.

    Also, she’s getting more site traffic so death threats don’t matter? Man.

    • osito says:

      No worries. I feel like this shouldn’t even be a conversation — Kaiser’s post itself is as diplomatic about the situation as we can possibly get. It’s *the comments* that were missing the point of the post. Then the whole “death threats and harassment is a win-win,” which is just sick.
      Is systemic racism at work here? Why yes, yes it is! Because microaggressions are tools of systemic racism. I want to say that this is not where we are as a society, but this is exactly where we are as a society.

      • Darla says:

        The poster who posted “win-win’ clearly , and I mean clearly, marked her post as sarcasm, yet you’ve repeated it four times on this thread. Sounds like someone with an agenda.

      • tanesha86 says:

        Darla please be quiet. Osito may have missed the sarcasm in that comment but the rest of what they said is true. Many of the white women on this site have shown time and time again that they are dismissive, snide, condescending and apathetic when a WOC (especially a Black woman) is the aggrieved party and honestly I’m so sick of it. The most frustrating part is y’all don’t even realize you’re doing it because it’s become so normalized.

      • osito says:

        Darla, you’re right — I absolutely missed that sarcasm tag. And if I could go back and edit the comments I made about it, I would. Especially because it helps people who don’t want to see a problem with the reactions here not see the problem.

        And, Tanesha, thank you.

      • Darla says:

        Oh sorry tanes that I was right in what I said, I know that’s really annoying. Have a nice evening. :)

      • osito says:

        Hey Darla, I made a mistake, and I owned it. I checked, and you also made a mistake: I only referenced that comment (again, in error) twice. You seem to understand why we’re frustrated here, but you’re also gloating about owning me or whatever. What’s really bothering you about mine and Tanesha’s comments?

  28. yinyang says:

    Taylor is THE biggest white pop icon right now, which is great but in the year 2020 comes with a lot of responsibilty. Gone are the days of Britany Spears, today icons are expected to be more than just a pretty face and catchy songs, I hope Taylor Swift recognizes all the power and responsiblity that comes with her position and will make the best of it. And omg, the logo is a complete rip off, there’s no mistaking that! Pushing your weight around to smaller companies is not a good look.

  29. Jenn says:

    I am NOT a fan, but I feel like Swifty’s album is going for “cottagecore” or “goblincore” (which has surreptitious LGBTQIA+ vibes!!) and the resemblance between these two serif logos feels to me like a very unfortunate coincidence.

    But also… yeah, the already-existing Folklore logo was just a google search away, and the graphic designer or ANYONE should’ve second-guessed Swift’s logo before letting it loose. (If they DID see this other logo, and they figured “oh, well, we’re gonna be fine, no one will notice,” that definitely says… a lot.)

    Twitter fandoms seem absolutely vile. The only cool thing I’ve ever heard about or witnessed is BTS fans trolling white nationalists.

    • Veronica S. says:

      Yeah, that’s kind of the thing….I’ve seen that design idea pop up quite a few times in other places, so I don’t think that’s a directly malicious rip off. But it is similar enough to be a problem, and they did need to change it because the size of the Swift brand would risk (if not outright) smother flow to hers. I do think it shows a certain kind of…lazy thinking on their part that, of course it’s going to be fine, it’s the Swift brand! I can see them being arrogant enough to assume it was completely original or wouldn’t be a problem. So it’s not quite Lady A territory ridiculousness to me where the problem is being clearly laid out and then bluntly ignored, but it is definitely a misstep that needed fixed.

      Agreed on the fans, though. I didn’t see that part until now, though it doesn’t surprise me, unfortunately. People really need to check themselves with the fanaticism. She does not need protecting with the kind of money she has lol.

  30. Darla says:

    Anyone who works with logos and fonts, just isn’t on the same page, and that’s how it is. Putting a vertical the next to a word is so common, and I mean, every designer has done it. If anything I’d be pissed this is what my team came up with. And the font thing is just not true, and people saying it is, just don’t know fonts. And that’s okay. But you’re wrong. And that’s just a fact.

    BUT, those who made the point that Swift has gone after people selling stuff on Etsy, because a line of her lyrics was on it, are right. those have been highly questionable claims made by Swift. I’m not arguing she shouldn’t have changed it. Live by the sword and all.

  31. msd says:

    Err, I’ve complained about Celebitchy promoting counterfeit products on Amazon in the ‘things to buy’ posts. Nothing was done! One egregious example was a blatant copy of a Danish indie product designed by a woman. :(