- Instagrammer Mik Zazon built the “Normalize Normal Bodies” movement after her personal struggles.
- She says followers sent her images of what looked like the trademarked slogan on a Boohoo billboard.
- She said she was “heartbroken” and will take legal action against the fashion brand.
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UK-based fashion brand Boohoo has been accused of taking an Instagram influencer’s trademarked body positivity slogan and using it on an advertising billboard.
Health and fitness coach Mik Zazon was sent images by some of her 980,000 Instagram followers appearing to show the clothing manufacturer had used the phrase “Normalize Normal Bodies” on a billboard last week. Insider was unable to verify the billboard’s exact location, but a now-deleted Instagram post from Boohoo’s account, which Insider has seen a screenshot of, appeared to show the purported billboard and described it as being “the biggest screen in Europe.”
Zazon wrote on Instagram on August 26 that she would be taking legal action against the brand for its use of the phrase, which has been trademarked by Zazon since December 8, 2020. “I hope all bigger brands see this and put the littlest amount of effort to research before taking something that isn’t yours,” she said.
Zazon, who is from Columbus, Ohio, told Insider she had been in contact with Boohoo in direct messages on Instagram and via email.
In an email seen by Insider, a purported Boohoo representative appeared to tell Zazon they were not taking the situation “lightly.” They said they would have loved to collaborate with Zazon with their “13 million strong following,” and it was “unfortunate” they couldn’t make it work.
The purported email doesn’t mention the billboard, but the original image has been removed from Boohoo’s Instagram feed, and “Normalize Normal Bodies” no longer appears in any of its posts.
Boohoo did not return Insider’s requests for comment.
Zazon told Insider she thought it was an “awful response.” She said she was “heartbroken” on seeing the post with her slogan because it represented her “life’s work.” She added her anger has nothing to do with money, as some people have suggested in her comments. Rather, she felt like her community was being “walked over.”
“I’m not against spreading the message,” she said. “I’m completely against the appropriation of the phrase for profit.”
In the two years since Zazon first used it, the hashtag #NormalizeNormalBodies has grown to include 257,000 Instagram posts. Zazon said it means, “No matter who you are, where you come from, you are normal, your body is normal, and it’s not your fault if you think that you’re wrong.”
“I will go in my grave before I let a fast-fashion company take away from something that is so personal to me,” she said.
Zazon told Insider she built the movement after her own personal journey with mental and physical health conditions, including three different eating disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and lupus.
Several fashion companies have been accused of using the work of independent designers in the past. Urban Outfitters removed a vase from its stock after a Bristol-based artist believed the outlet had “robbed” her ceramics designs in 2018. Pretty Little Thing also apologized to a clothing brand founder and removed T-shirts from its online store after being publicly criticized for the similarity.