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A prominent figure stirred up ethical debates on TikTok after her team requested the platform to remove videos featuring knockoff versions of her brand's fruit-print pajamas

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A prominent figure stirred up ethical debates on TikTok after her team requested the platform to remove videos featuring knockoff versions of her brand's fruit-print pajamas, leading to discussions about the ethics of promoting replicas.

Matilda Djerf, who has been an influential figure in fashion for nearly a decade, allowed fans to directly buy into her lifestyle when she launched her brand, Djerf Avenue, in 2019. However, in recent weeks, some fans became upset with Djerf after smaller creators claimed that her company had removed their videos mentioning counterfeit products from her clothing line, citing copyright infringement.

Counterfeit products are typically sold at more affordable prices than the originals. While knockoffs have existed for years, the popularity of counterfeit videos on TikTok has surged in recent months, sparking debates about purchasing low-quality copies. Dupes may be more accessible to consumers on a budget, but some critics argue that they encourage design theft and contribute to the wastefulness in fast fashion.

Some experts, including fashion creators, say that enforcing intellectual property and copyright laws in the fashion industry is challenging even for major design houses. Critics argue that Djerf's designs also resemble items from her own wardrobe and are inspired by them, making copyright violations appear "hypocritical."

Several TikTok creators this month published videos stating that their videos mentioning counterfeit Djerf Avenue pajamas were deleted. Two creators claimed that the Djerf Avenue team removed their videos praising the original clothing over the knockoffs, sparking outrage directed at Djerf and her team.

Critics believe that Djerf's team was wrong to punish minor influencers for the knockoffs rather than the manufacturers. Some were shocked that trademark usage was allowed in videos featuring counterfeit products, which are a popular content genre on TikTok. The hashtag #djerfavenuedrama on TikTok amassed 1.5 million views.

"It's quietly scary that they can do this," one commenter said under a video discussing the incident.

A representative from Djerf Avenue stated that the company had recently noticed a "surge" in websites selling trademarked prints. They have an external intellectual property firm that tracks copyright infringements.

The intellectual property firm "unintentionally impacted individual accounts," the representative said in an emailed statement.

"We have immediately instructed our intellectual property firm to cease reporting from individual accounts and to focus on third-party sellers of these products. Instead of reporting individual accounts, we will reach out to the account responsible for suspicious pirate copies and engage in a dialogue with the content creator."

TikTok's community guidelines prohibit "posting, distributing, or sending content that infringes on someone else's copyright, trademark, or other intellectual property rights."

Djerf Avenue posted a similar statement on its Instagram story on October 7, but it did not quell the negative reaction. Djerf temporarily deactivated her personal TikTok account due to the controversies and has not publicly responded to the criticism. The controversies fueled further criticism of Djerf and her brand, with people claiming that she was selling basic items at inflated prices and alienating fans who wanted to emulate her style on a limited budget.

"It's almost activated her community around wanting to actually buy these knockoffs, despite them considering copyright infringements unnecessary," said Moa Lundström Halbert, a fashion journalist and host of the Newsfash podcast, which featured a TikTok about Djerf Avenue, in an interview.

Lundström Halbert said that targeting individuals from Djerf's community rather than the actual counterfeit producers seemed like "biting the hand that feeds you."

"You want to influence people to be inspired by your style, but you want to funnel this tunnel of inspiring traffic directly to your own channels and your own website," Lundström Halbert said. "But the nature of the internet is that you can't do that."