Tribe Tropical: Mum ‘heartbroken’ over Shein swimwear line that looks ‘identical’ to her range

A busy mum-of-three who runs her own business was left ‘heartbroken’ after claiming to have found almost identical swimsuit designs on Shein to her own.

Emily Gradon, from regional Queensland, launched Tribe Tropical from her kitchen bench in December 2018 while pregnant with her third child.

Today the brand boasts more than 30,000 Instagram followers and is adored by customers nationwide.

But after conducting a ‘random search’ using Google Lens to ‘check’ for similar styles using her own images, Emily was devastated to find fast fashion retail giant Shein had four suits that are very similar to her own colorful swimsuit designs.

‘I was so upset, truly heartbroken to be honest,’ Emily told FEMAIL.

A busy mum-of-three who runs her own business was left 'heartbroken' after claiming to have found almost identical swimsuit designs on Shein to her own.  The one piece children's swimsuits from Shein (pictured, left) retail for $11.95 and look near identical to Tribe Tropical's $64.95 swimsuits (pictured, right)

A busy mum-of-three who runs her own business was left ‘heartbroken’ after claiming to have found almost identical swimsuit designs on Shein to her own. The one piece children’s swimsuits from Shein (pictured, left) retail for $11.95 and look near identical to Tribe Tropical’s $64.95 swimsuits (pictured, right)

'I was so upset, truly heartbroken to be honest,' Emily (pictured, left, with her family) told FEMAIL.  When she saw the similar designs on Shein she thought of the 'countless hours of work and expense' that had gone into developing the product and designs

‘I was so upset, truly heartbroken to be honest,’ Emily (pictured, left, with her family) told FEMAIL. When she saw the similar designs on Shein she thought of the ‘countless hours of work and expense’ that had gone into developing the product and designs

The one piece children’s swimsuits from Shein retail for $11.95 and look almost identical to Tribe Tropical’s $64.95 swimsuits.

When she saw the similar designs on Shein Emily said she thought of the ‘countless hours of work and expense’ that had gone into developing the product and designs.

‘None of the patterns I use come from a cookie-cutter catalogue, they take many months to develop and get to the standard that I envisage,’ Emily said.

‘One of the prints used was a complete copy from original artwork by Brisbane-based artist Stacey Bigg whom I commissioned to create the pattern which features Cairns Birdwing Butterflies and is inspired by the Daintree Rainforest.’

Emily highlighted that the prints Shein used weren’t ‘complete copies’ of her own, besides one, but the designs ‘appear to be inspired by’ Tribe Tropical.

‘Instead of having beautiful hand-drawn Australian birds they had included other birds that aren’t found in Australia. My brand is inspired by tropical Australia so that’s what makes my patterns unique,’ she said.

Tribe Tropical’s swimsuits feature UPF50+ protection to block out 97 percent of UVA and UVB rays, and are designed with long sleeve coverage, a pretty frill detail on the legs and are double lined.

Her products are also stocked in more than 20 locations around Australia as well as in the US.

Emily highlighted that the prints Shein used weren't 'complete copies' of her own, besides one, but the designs 'appear to be inspired by' Tribe Tropical.  Despite the similarity in design, Emily said it's the quality that sets the products apart

Emily highlighted that the prints Shein used weren’t ‘complete copies’ of her own, besides one, but the designs ‘appear to be inspired by’ Tribe Tropical. Despite the similarity in design, Emily said it’s the quality that sets the products apart

Despite the similarity in design, Emily said it’s the quality that sets the products apart.

‘I was relieved to see that the quality difference was obvious – my product is superior to theirs, as are my finishing touches from the piping detail to the double-lining to the cut of my suits,’ she said.

Emily also doesn’t believe she’s ‘lost customers’ over the ordeal, but is still hurt by the ‘complete disregard and lack of respect’.

‘I know that my target customers don’t shop on Shein, and that Shein customers wouldn’t shop with me either because their values ​​don’t align with ours, so I didn’t feel as though I’d lost customers per se she said.

‘But it just upset me to see that my ideas were being used by another company, which is so much bigger than mine.’

Emily claims she emailed Shein but 'never heard back'.  She consulted a defamation lawyer and was told the legal team could send a 'cease and desist letter' to Shein directly over the possible copyright infringement

Emily claims she emailed Shein but ‘never heard back’. She consulted a defamation lawyer and was told the legal team could send a ‘cease and desist letter’ to Shein directly over the possible copyright infringement

'I feel that consumers have the right to know about what goes on behind the scenes of the products they decide to invest their hard-earned money on,' she said

‘I feel that consumers have the right to know about what goes on behind the scenes of the products they decide to invest their hard-earned money on,’ she said

Emily claims she emailed Shein but ‘never heard back’.

She consulted a defamation lawyer and was told the legal team could send a ‘cease and desist letter’ to Shein directly over the possible copyright infringement.

But Emily said she ‘fears this alone won’t stop this from happening again’.

‘I feel that consumers have the right to know about what goes on behind the scenes of the products they decide to invest their hard-earned money on,’ she said.

‘I don’t know what it takes for multinational companies like this to stop doing these things to small brands – I know I’m not the first one to have this happen, and I know I won’t be the last either sadly. ‘

A Shein spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia: 'Shein takes all claims of infringement seriously'

A Shein spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia: ‘Shein takes all claims of infringement seriously’

A Shein spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia: ‘Shein takes all claims of infringement seriously.’

It is not our intent to infringe anyone’s valid intellectual property and it is not our business model to do so.

‘Shein suppliers are required to comply with company policy and certify their products do not infringe third-party IP.

‘We continue to invest in and improve our product review process.’

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