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Urban Outfitter Fights Back Against Thievery Charges

29 May 2011, 13.07 | Posted in Designer news | No comments »

IHeartDestination 540x304 Urban Outfitter Fights Back Against Thievery Charges

This is interesting, Urban Outfitters has issued a statement responding to the much-covered charges that it stole a design idea (see one example above–it’s a state featuring a heart cut out) from jewellery designer Stephanie Koerner. Here is an excerpt:

In her recent blog post and on Twitter Koerner claims that Urban Outfitters stole her designs or was inspired in some way by the items in her Etsy shop for our I Heart Destination necklaces. In fact, a quick search on Etsy for ‘state necklace’ reveals several other sellers with similar products (as seen here on Regretsy) who offered their wares as much as a year earlier than Ms. Koerner. We are not implying that Koerner stole her necklace idea from one of these other designers, we are simply stating the obvious—that the idea is not unique to Koerner and she can in no way claim to be its originator. Normally we would not respond publicly to Koerner’s allegations, but we believe the media response to her campaign is threatening to impact the dozens of independent designers we work with on a daily basis.

I could see where UO would want to make a statement. Certain stories spread like flash floods on the fashion blogs and this was definitely one of them, which eventually became a trending topic on Twitter. You see the story picked up on one blog and then suddenly it’s everywhere, and given the nature of blog reporting (a skeletal staff and an insane pace) very little is done to fact check to see if the story is actually true.

I don’t believe this UO statement puts an end to the story that it would steal from an independent–actually I believe in the past it has, which is why this story had legs, but I personally know four independent designers who have sold to UO and I specifically asked each one if they every experienced UO ripping off their designs during or after their relationship with the company ended. They all said UO looks for margins that are almost painful but overall their experience with the company was a good one. So while UO may not be perfect, my belief is that it’s also not as evil as it’s currently being represented on blogs.

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