The Great Eros, a New York City based lingerie brand and small business, is locked in a legal battle with Danielle Bernstein, a mega-influencer, who they claim stole their signature tissue paper design and used it on swimwear.
But it turns out, Bernstein, a fashion influencer with 2.5 million followers and the founder of blog and brand WeWoreWhat, is the one who filed the first lawsuit.
The Great Eros called out Bernstein, 28, in August for allegedly ripping off the nude female line drawings used on the tissue paper the brand includes with every purchase. After sending Bernstein a draft of a lawsuit the brand planned to file, she "secretly" beat the brand to the punch, according to Jeff Gluck, attorney for The Great Eros.
"Ms. Bernstein's lawsuit is nothing more than a crude bullying tactic intended to scare and intimidate small business owners, and it will be dismissed. The ill-advised decision to secretly sue The Great Eros has already backfired on her in spectacular fashion and we look forward to seeing her in court," he said.
Gluck shared a list of more than two dozen "identical features" he said experts determined exist between The Great Eros' design and WeWoreWhat's items. The examples include "buttock shapes: identical" and "measurement from apex to of breast to belly button: identical," as well as line weights and end strokes that match The Great Eros.
He told TODAY The Great Eros is calling on Bernstein to end her lawsuit. He also shared a draft of a lawsuit the brand plans to file against Bernstein, which he said details her visit to their showroom in 2018 and requests for products. The lawsuit also claims that Bernstein has a "history of copying others' designs and passing them off as her own."
A representative for WeWoreWhat did not immediately respond to an email request from TODAY. However, Bernstein addressed the drama on her Instagram story on Saturday and told her followers she is not seeking financial gain from the lawsuit.
"A few days ago their attorney contacted us, sharing a lawsuit he intended to file this week in an attempt to push us to settle a meritless claim that we now, begrudgingly, have to fight," she wrote. "I want to clarify that I am ABSOLUTELY NOT seeking financial gain, what we are doing is simply asking the courts to confirm that we did not infringe on an alleged copyright."
Bernstein said the WeWoreWhat print "was conceptualized and hand-drawn by my team at the end of 2018 and launched in January 2020" as part of her swim collection for that season.
"The collection was already two seasons old and had been out in the market for months by the time their claim was made. As we all know, over the last few years, female line drawings have been a market trend. A quick Google search reveals wallpaper, shirts, bathing suits, yoga mats, and even tattoos, and it is clear everyone has had Matisse on their minds, including ShopWeWoreWhat," she wrote. "I personally own several female silhouette decor pieces which served as inspiration, as the theme of this collection was Home."
While Bernstein has received some backlash from people who see the similarities, she said she wants everyone to know that she's a "committed supporter of small businesses" and holds "creative liberty and ownership" in the highest regard.
"My hope is that we, as designers and entrepreneurs, can support one another, and continue to be inspired by our collective work in the fashion industry," she said. "Thank you to all that have supported me over the years, it means the world to me."