Home > Uncategorized > Urban Outfitters Copies Etsy Designer or Do Great Minds Think Alike?

Urban Outfitters Copies Etsy Designer or Do Great Minds Think Alike?

May 26, 2011

A tweet from fellow blogger Melissa at http://newseattle-lite.blogspot.com brought my attention to a case of “Let me steal your artistic ideas because I can make it just like you- only cheaper and faster.”

A blog post: “Not Cool Urban Outfitters, Not Cool” by Stevie from IMakeShinyThings.com explains how her World of Love necklace line sold at her Etsy store, Tru.che were copied by Urban Outfitters. They even took the title she uses in the listings “I heart [state or country]” and have called the necklaces “I Heart Destination Necklaces”.

Below are screen shots of two pieces and the webpages where those piece are listed. Both the one shown on the Urban Outfitters website and the one on Tru.che are of New York state.

These types of things get me fired up on first impulse. Copying, stealing and plagiarizing for personal or profitable gain just irks me. It’s not create a similar item or something that was inspired by Stevie’s necklaces but they created and sold almost an exact duplicate. Trends often produce similar items, markets get saturated, shit happens but it’s counterfeit and knockoff land that creates lookalikes… and big design houses that can afford it go after people and companies that do it but what do small designers do?

Of course.. after a few minutes the numbers and methodical fashion side of my brain kicks in….

And I have to relate it to the trickle down or trickle up effect that happens in the fashion industry. It’s harsh that it’s small, designer that  is the inspiration or target of the knockoff , but it’s also flattering.

For the consumer it comes down to the same question we face when looking at ready-to-wear verse fast fashion, mass market clothing, etc.: “Do you want the original for $55 or a knock-off for $19?”

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  1. June 14, 2011 at 8:12 am

    This irks me as well. I don’t recall specifics but saw something at Anthropologie recently that struck me as a blatant knock off of original artwork I’d seen somewhere (my mind filed my annoyance but not the details). Makes you wonder about the so-called designers they employ!

    As an artist, I’m aware and concerned about not being derivative in my work. Finding inspiration is one thing but copying is quite another, though it does happen.

    • Bee
      June 14, 2011 at 12:10 pm

      I’m starting to become aware of those needs in my work as well. It does make you wonder about the designers- and in a way in makes you wonder about their fashion forecasters who must be grabbing current trends faster than picking up future trends.

      One of the interesting things about this case of copy-cat is a bit two-fold. While there’s no doubt Urban Outfitters had taken this from the specific designer (because of the name they used:I heart destinations), it was later shown that the design was a rather common one on etsy. Though I can’t attest to the appearance of quality of the other designers or whether they still make those necklaces. So that boiled down to the question do great minds think alike? Or does everyone just rip designs from each other. And does no one care?! Unless it’s a major corporation doing it?

      And trust me I was mad that UO would copy AND steal the name, but that brings me to your example of Anthropologie doing it–if it’s artwork we get upset, we won’t buy it; we may not even step in that store again.
      If it’s clothes, for the most part as a population we’re relaxed and happy or indifferent. The trickle down effect or nearly exact copying of clothing and accessories means we can have something that looks like a designer label for a fraction of the cost. And as long as it’s not pretending to be the designer label-they can rarely be stopped.
      Perhaps a whole post could go on this. But yea one, of the key things ingrained in our education is the thing you create cannot be used as your inspiration. At least not literally.

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