Fashion designer claims Boohoo copied her bikini-dress set

Dental nurse-turned fashion designer popular with Love Island stars claims Boohoo copied her bikini-dress set after the firm launched an ‘identical’ outfit for £21

  • Victoria El-Abaire, 35, started fashion business after being placed on furlough 
  • Ex-dental assistant’s bespoke designs made her popular with Love Island stars
  • But she says Boohoo recently released bikini-dress set ‘identical’ to her design
  • It is one of her most popular designs and often used by influencers on Instagram

A fashion designer popular with Love Island stars has claimed Boohoo copied the designs of one of her bikini-dress sets after the firm launched an ‘identical’ outfit.

Victoria El-Abaire, 35, started her business Victoria Leigh after being placed on furlough during the first coronavirus lockdown.

The former dental assistant spends hours making each piece individually and the bespoke designs have made her popular with Love Island celebrities Gabby Allen and Olivia Bowen.

But she was left upset when fast-fashion brand Boohoo recently released a bikini and dress set which looks similar to one she unveiled in September.


Ferne McCann pictured wearing 35-year-old Victoria El-Abaire’s bikini and dress set (left) and Boohoo’s design (right), which is being sold in its ‘new in’ section for £21 in the sale 

Ms El-Abaire, pictured above, started her business Victoria Leigh after being placed on furlough during the first coronavirus lockdown

Victoria said: ‘It is really deflating, and it makes you think what is the point.

‘Why have I spent all this time and effort working out my own patterns, studying what fabric will go with it.

‘It takes a long time to make the piece by hand so we charge more. And then Boohoo just replicates it in two seconds and sells it for cheaper.

‘It’s very deflating – we have no voice.’

Victoria created a bikini crop top matched with a ruched dress last year costing £71 together – which was worn by celebrities such as Ferne McCann.

It is one of Victoria’s most popular designs which is often used by influencers on Instagram.

In Boohoo’s ‘new in’ section it now sells an almost identical looking set for £21 in the sale. ‘The ruching technique is not new, that dates far back,’ Victoria, of Grays, Essex, explained.

‘But Boohoo has replicated the design of the whole set. They have used the same fabric, the top and the skirt together is not a known thing.

Love Island star Gabby Allen pictured wearing one of Victoria’s dresses. The former dental assistant spends hours making each piece individually

Olivia Bowen wearing one of Victoria’s dresses while with her boyfriend Alex. Victoria makes each piece individually based on her star-studded customers’ sizes

‘People have even been tagging me in Boohoo pictures because they assumed it was my design.’

And Victoria says she noticed Boohoo designers started following her on Instagram over the past six months.

She said: ‘Quite often in followers’ biographies it stated they worked for Boohoo.’

Victoria was put on furlough from her job as a dental assistant during the first coronavirus lockdown in March 2020.

She had always sewn clothes as a hobby and decided to sell them in her free time, with her designs taking off before she went full time in her new fashion business.

She said: ‘It was a huge risk, but I have been teaching myself as a hobby for years.

‘I think customers like being able to give their own measurements, especially with shops being closed due to Covid.’

Ms El-Abaire pictured wearing the bikini and dress set. The fashion designer says she noticed Boohoo designers started following her on Instagram over the past six months

The bikini part of the set, which can be worn in various ways, as pictured above. Victoria had always sewn clothes as a hobby and decided to sell them in her free time

Victoria makes each piece individually based on her star-studded customers’ sizes. 

She added: ‘It makes me think what is the point, maybe I should just go back to my old job.’

It is not the first time Boohoo has been accused of copying other designers’ work.

Earlier this year, London-based high-end fashion label KAI Collective sent a cease and desist letter to Boohoo over alleged copyright infringement.

The brand claimed it had found a high level of similarity in the prints used by Boohoo to designs in a KAI collection.

It requested a £30,000 payment for damages and the coverage of legal costs.

MailOnline has contacted Boohoo for comment. 

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