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Fast Fashion Giant Shein Collabs With Frida Kahlo, But Amid Controvery

The Chinese fast-fashion juggernaut Shein has launched a collaboration with Frida Kahlo through the Frida Kahlo Corporation.

On Thursday, Shein’s social media handle announced that the company would collaborate with FKC to bring a new collection inspired by the famed Mexican painter. Reportedly, the collection would be inspired by her artworks, the vibrant colors she often used, as well as the type of clothes she wore.

After the death of Frida Kahlo in 1954 without a will, her property rights were inherited by her niece Isolda Pinedo Kahlo. In turn, in 2003, her daughter Maria Christina and others formed the Frida Kahlo Corporation (FKC) to manage the use of Frida Kahlo’s works and her ‘brand’. However, in later years, Maria Christina and her daughter had fallout from FKC over the licensing and trademarking of Kahlo’s brand.

Since then, there have been numerous legal battles between the two factions. In 2018, Mattel collaborated with FKC to launch a Barbie doll edition that bore the likeness of Frida Kahlo. This was challenged by Kahlo’s family in a Mexican court which led to the cease of sales of those dolls in Mexico (though continues in the rest of the world). As recently as last month, the two sides were engaged in a separate legal matter.

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On the other hand, Shein does not enjoy an excellent reputation either. Though the brand has had a meteoric rise due to its trendy and exhaustive collection at very affordable prices, this seems to have come at a cost. Many agencies have accused Shein of exploiting workers’ conditions and stealing designs from established brands.