Red Bubble knock off Tshepo Jeans

On the left is the Tshepo Jeans original design, on the right is the Red Bubble counterfeit.

On the left is the Tshepo Jeans original design, on the right is the Red Bubble counterfeit.

Published Jan 3, 2023


The fashion industry is one of the brutal industries where people can easily steal your designs, and, sometimes there isn’t much you can do about it.

Local fashion designer Tshepo Mohlala was shocked when he noticed that online fashion brand Red Bubble (RB) had a lookalike of his T-shirt designs.

The owner of Tshepo Jeans posted a photo on Twitter showing a T-shirt that looks like his, the only difference is that the RB was written Tahepo, but the design is the same, even the crown.

While fellow designer Inga Gubeka of Inga Atelier pointed out his disappointment, tweeps added that Tshepo’s logo was not so unique as it was taken from Jean-Michel Basquait.

“I hate how a person knocked off Tshepo Jeans. This is not it. I wish there was a way to fight this counterfeits crisis we local brands are facing,” said Gubeka.

Tshepo Jeans is not the first brand to be a victim of counterfeit. Brands like Maxhosa Africa are also victims.

If you go to Smal Street in Joburg, you will see many counterfeits of the brand.

In 2018, Diesel dealt with counterfeits in an iconic way. They did a campaign ahead of New York Fashion Week, calling it “Deisel For Successful Living”, switching the letters "e" and "i".

“We created Diesel’s own knock-off brand, “Deisel”. To do this, we redesigned Diesel’s iconic logo, subverting it into a realistically misspelt knock-off logo. We then designed an authentically cluttered knock-off store in New York’s counterfeit district,” read a statement from Diesel.

That was one of the best PR stunts of turning bad into good, which worked out for the brand because, within a week, they generated 55 million social impressions and 400 million global impressions.

One Twitter user @OfentseZA said if he owned Tshepo Jeans, he’d release the same counterfeit print with a marking pen “S” on top of the “A”,which is a brilliant idea.

— Ofentse (@OfentseZA) January 2, 2023

Below are more reactions from the Tshepo Jeans counterfeit.

— C...'embo (@RealMbombo) January 2, 2023