by Samantha Schnurr | Fri., May. 15, 2020 1:21 PM
Arielle Charnas is under fire.
On Wednesday, the Something Navy founder and influencer posted photos of herself donning a navy gown with off-the-shoulder sleeves on her Instagram account, amassing more than 25,000 likes on the images since. She tagged the Something Navy Instagram account on the garment, indicating that the dress is part of an upcoming collection for the brand.
"This is gorgeous," one comment read. "It'll be so pretty for a wedding guest dress!"
"Literally what I had in mind!!" Charnas responded. "Bridesmaids or just a wedding guest!! I plan to make this in a bunch of colors as we continue on!"
However, not everyone was thrilled about the sneak peek. Some called out Charnas as the dress was very similar to a navy design by Juan Carlos Obando. "You can buy the original available at @renttherunway from @jc_obando. No need to buy the copy," another comment retorted.
More critics called out Charnas over the strikingly similar gowns. "That is also probably what Juan Carlos had in mind - stealing from the talented designer @jc_obando is disgusting and you should be ashamed," one commenter wrote without mincing words.
"Dear @ariellecharnas let's try and have a productive conversation," brand strategist Victoria De La Fuente Bozzo wrote on her Instagram story. "This is not the first time you are accused to ripping off young designers, but you have the power to make it the last. Instead of copying, why don't you create collaborations with real designers for your own brand. Times like now should inspire change, and conversations should be had about the way the industry was running. Let's be pro active. Drive change and make a difference. You have the power to drive a successful business and support talented young designers all at the same time. If not now, when?"
In a statement, Arielle Charnas insisted it was never her intent to copy Juan Carlos. "We did not know about Juan Carlos Obando until his dress was brought to our attention, and we did not copy its design. We've had a chance to connect with his team and we have nothing but respect for them. We really want to focus on bringing positive attention to fashion right now, and we hope we can work with them and other great small brand as we launch our line," her statement read in part.
In 2019, she faced criticism and online bullying after Instagram account Diet Prada called out how similar a headband and shoes from Something Navy were to ones from other designer brands.
"You must feel good going to sleep every night knowing that you created the most negative platform on planet earth to rally up animals like this to go against someone who never claimed to reinvent the wheel but instead take inspiration from street style and runway add twists to it and offer it to their followers who may not be able to afford the trendy high end pieces," she fired back in part of a response at the time.
"It was not a fun experience to be harassed over a headband that pretty much every fast fashion brand and company has made in the past six years since Prada has launched it," Charnas later told The Daily Front Row of the situation. "With Something Navy, I never claim to reinvent the wheel. We're making fun, affordable fashion. We're grabbing a mix of what's on the runway, what's trendy right now, and putting our little twist to it. I didn't even respond to the negativity about the headband; what I responded to was pretty much the bullying that came out of that account. That was the worst part of the entire experience. I honestly didn't care at all about the headband; my followers didn't care. It sold out!"
She continued to the magazine, "What upset me the most was that they have a community of people who hate influencers. They would never attack a brand who's done that. We are such easy targets because so many people want to attack us, and this was a great opportunity for that. What upset me the most was the bullying that came out of it; people on Instagram were actually telling my children to commit suicide. My 3-year-old and my 1-year-old. That's not normal. Something needs to be done about [bullying] on social media because it scares me. I wasn't upset about the situation. I was honestly scared—for myself and my children. It made me question sharing my life. It's what makes me happy, it's what makes my followers happy, and I hate that it made me question that."