Did you ever catch a company stealing your interview project designs or work?

You always hear stories about companies stealing work from those ‘dreaded interview projects’ that rarely seem to result in hiring, but has it ever happened to you?

I actually had proof GIII turned my interview project designs into samples. I had submitted an interview project of tops designs for a job but they went ahead and hired someone else. However, she quit a month or two later and they then hired me to fill the spot. One day a while after starting there, I saw 3 of my designs from the project hanging in the closet with the previous month’s collection!! I was pretty annoyed…(They were exact replicas! No small changes or anything!). I didn’t have anyone to complain to though because all 3 of the previous designers had quit before I found those samples and there was no one left to confront.

On the flip side anyone actually been ordered to use designs that someone submitted for a project?

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It happens quiet in the industry. They are all run out of ideas so they steal. There is really nothing new under the sun. My friends designs were stolen too, sort of speak. I think she interviewed with XOXO or Rampage both based in Los Angeles. All the company had to do was altered some areas and claimed it’s their designs. Unfortunately, unlike Haute couture in France, there is no copyright law or registration law for the industry. Years ago LV tried copyright one of their designs but the French court rejected the request because the design is too common to be copyrighted, where as with French couture federation, every piece of couture garment must be copyrighted and registered, therefore, they cannot be copied. A US company can knock it off and sell it in the US and there is nothing French government can do about it. Just be thankful you have a job right now in the industry. There are about 75% of people in the industry are out work n God knows how long this is going to last…

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It’s true but such a shame. I didn’t know couture had such a law. Kudos to them at least.
I don’t have a job right now either sadly. My experience above was from a few years ago.

I’ve had this happen. I went on an interview during Covid and they had me do a project. I didn’t get the job, but was asked to interview with another team. It was about 2-3 weeks later. When I went into the office, my project was printed out and on about 5 desks that I walked by. PROJECTS NEED TO GO!

Yes. It happened to me about 10 years ago from an Orange County apparel company. I was not hired but saw my sample project maybe 6 months later on their site as actual product. I did email and say- I’m glad my designs were such inspiration for you. They responded (actually) denying it. I had a much better job by that point but I wanted her to know I knew she was a fraud if it got to the point of stealing designs. It was quite the involved project and I remember a lot of interview rounds. Maybe that’s the red flag.

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Two parts here. I’m fairly certain an extremely well-known San Francisco footwear brand used my interview project, though it was not design but in another functional area. No way to prove it but the circumstances were highly sketchy.

My sister used an interview project at her company that I think became a best seller—but it was from someone they did hire as an intern and asked and was given permission to use the work. She was a phenomenal designer and they’ve since used other pieces she did while she was there.

Yes, years ago…it was either Urban Outfitters or Free People (can’t remember which right now since I’ve done multiple projects & interviews with both), but I saw a couple of my distinctive designs from my interview project on their site

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the same thing can be said of handbags. I was working at a handbag showroom near the the Empire State Building when I first moved to NYC. The VP and designer would be going around taking photos then copying, I mean they probably made some small changes and put their own labels, it’s nothing new.