A white Instagrammer is under fire for stealing a Latina’s face mask idea
Latina designer, Karen Perez said she felt helpless when she saw her face mask design being sold by another company run by a white woman.
The accusations come from the fashion watchdog Diet Prada, less than a month after Bernstein became a member of the American Influencer Council, a platform to promote professional ethics among influencers.
According to Diet Prada’s post, Bernstein reached out to Perez via Instagram on June 29, asking for a sample of the mask. Perez got her color preference and exact facial measurements and sent the sample.
Second Wind’s masks are made out of linen, come in four colors, and each style comes with a gold chain.
Perez was ecstatic that someone as big as Bernstein was interested in sporting her designs. “From what I’ve heard about Bernstein and what she’s expressed on social media, she is a big advocate of small businesses. I put a rush on her masks when I was already swamped with so many orders. I’m a one-woman show,” she told Refinery 29.
Perez was even getting ready to hand-deliver them to her door, when Bernstein sent her another message on Instagram.
“Babe I thought I should let you know I’m also making masks with a detachable chain — similar to the sunglass chains I own — didn’t want you to think I’m copying you! Still so excited for yours! Masks are a different shape too,” the message read
After receiving this message, Perez was shocked, devastated and felt like quitting.
While she realized that creating stylish masks during this pandemic wasn’t her original idea, she knew that her specific masks were very unique.
Bernstein even used the same wording to promote the masks that Perez used on her website. But “as a small, minority-owned business,” Perez felt like there was nothing she could say or do.
But she reached out anyway and told her story to Influencers Truth, and it went viral.
The side-by-side images of the masks and the exchanges between both designers have since been shared by E! News, Jezebel and Fashionista.
Bernstein has denied the accusations in an Instagram story, claiming that she was simply creating a product that her customers were requesting. She announced that she will donate all of the masks to frontline healthcare workers.
Perez said that she shared her story and knows what really happened, and that “the situation could have been avoided if Bernstein informed her during their first conversation that she was also making masks.”
Perez has gotten tons of messages from other small brands that have gone through the same thing.
According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Latinas in the U.S. are paid 46% less than white men and 31% less than white women. When bigger brands owned by White women steal ideas and designs from smaller Latina brands, it’s very damaging financially.
Credit needs to be given where credit is due.