The Internet went wild after Taylor Swift was seen sporting a rather unusual accessory for the typically preppy — and peppy — 25-year-old. It was a harness from Free People, which Swift wore to a casual lunch with gal pal Selena Gomez. The same edgy accessory has been seen on the runways of Commes des Garcons, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood.
So it’s safe to say that when squeaky clean Tay wore the S&M staple out, her fans went crazy. One even went so far to accuse Swift of wearing it the wrong way, posting the originally styled photo on Tumblr.
Swift had had enough and shut down her haters earlier on Tumblr with this:
“#THAT ISN’T THE SAME ONE BTW #AND IT’S NOT BACKWARDS #CHECK FREE PEOPLE DOT COM BYE.”
But what she didn’t realize was that she was sporting a direct knock-off of the original version from Zana Bayne, a New York-based designer who launched her own brand in 2010.
The Free People version is sold online for $19.95 and is almost identical to Zana Bayne’s “Cruxus” harness with influences from the “Helios” model. Both of the designs came out in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
“Taylor Swift is such a fashion icon to so many people that hopefully she can turn people on to wearing more leather accessories,” Bayne tells Mashable. “Leather does crazy things to people so that’s why I think people have been talking so much about it. Even if it’s a thigh high boot or leather pants. It’s a material that’s as old as humankind. Maybe it’s that we have this very tactile relationship with it.”
Bayne — who has dressed everyone from Nicki Minaj to Beyoncé — added that she believes the accessory to be a positive step in the more fashionable direction for Swift, who usually plays it safe.
“It’s fantastic she’s wearing this new type of belting,” she says. “It’s good to add visual interest to a casual ensemble.”
When asked about the copycat, Bayne says she “sees it as a good thing.”
It is very well possible that Swift was directly influenced by Bayne’s designs. In fact, she was around Bayne’s harnesses on the set of her Bad Blood video where friends like Zendaya, Ellen Pompeo, and Serayah, wore Bayne designs.