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We are big Tatty Devine fans here at LLG Towers. (Even P Bad has got in on the act with her personalised Tatty Devine dogtag.) I first came across the British jewellery and accessories company when they showed as part of Fashion East in 2003, at what was then the Great Eastern Hotel.  (An epic season for Fashion East – Roksanda Ilincic, Jonathan Saunders and Tatty Devine all on the same bill. Lulu Kennedy really *is* a visionary.)

Although that was their big entry into the fashion world, its designers Rosie Wolfenden and Harriet Vine started  the company in 1999 and, since then, have established two shops in London (Brick Lane and Covent Garden), which sell their acrylic-based jewellery, all of which is handmade in the UK.

They’ve had extraordinary success for a small UK company, flying the flag here & abroad for British design, and keeping their head above water during the recession. Which is why it is so devastating and disappointing to read on their blog today that the global High Street retailer Claire’s has been ransacking their archive, and reproducing Tatty Devine designs for their own range without permission, licence or payment.

It’s hard enough for small labels in the current climate without huge corporates ripping them off for ideas. And it’s not just Tatty Devine that suffers: as an independent stockist of Tatty Devine  pointed out on the TD blog, this kind of plagiarism not only harms and undermines business for the guys at Tatty Devine but every single independent boutique stocking Tatty Devine across the country.

And getting redress can be difficult. As a friend pointed out on Twitter, swimwear designer Liza Bruce was bankrupted when she tried to get M&S to admit to copying her designs. That was in the days way before social media, so let us hope that the court of public opinion settles this matter without delay.

I would urge you to make your displeasure felt on the Claire’s Facebook page but, in an act of breathtaking arrogance, Claire’s Stores are deleting ALL negative comments immediately, and are blocking all users who leave a negative comment on the page. (One of my Twitter followers timed it: four minutes from leaving a comment to deletion & blocking.)

Really guys? You think this is a gd idea? Claire’s has already trended on Twitter in the UK today, but the company has yet to address the issue or make a statement. So do feel free to email them at marketinguk@claires.co.uk to make your feelings known.

In the meantime, here is the original Tatty Devine blogpost showing the breathtaking plagiarism of their designs.

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36 comments

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A great example of:

1. Why never to copy someone, not matter how small or large the are.

2. How not to handle a PR disaster. How do brands think they can keep getting away with this? Followers notice when they’re messages suddenly “disappear.”

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Comments were deleted because they are probably now fearful of some kind of legal action … So rather than simply blocking discussion, they are proverbially covering their arses – which seem to be HUGE … squatting on another commercial domain – Tatty Devine’s. Sorry I did not make myself clearer @Twitter.

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That’s an utter outrage. How frustrating for Tatty Devine and how unscrupulous of Claire’s.

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I love Tatty Devine and think this is dreadful and arrogant, however I have to say that I clicked on this link immediately not to read, but to see the pic of your dachshund up close. She’s ridiculously adorable:)

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Wonder if Claire’s used unpaid interns to make the necklaces like Tatty Devine do?

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@annie:

Quite possibly, I interviewed for an unpaid placement at Claire’s when I was at university, although probably 5 or 6 years ago now.

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@annie:

Almost certainly not. But Claire’s do collude in the large scale exploitation of Chinese labourers. The question should be who is causing the greater harm.

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It is clearly a copy and it will be shocking if a court disagrees. I hate Claire’s with a passion; it is unoriginal, cheap and nasty and I cannot believe that people purchase things from there or how they are still in business. Shame on them.

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Claire’s Acessories make me sick; a massive massive social media fail.

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This is an outrage.

It’s not exactly a one-off for a brand/designer to ‘take inspiration’ from another but blatant copying is blatant copying.

Tatty Devine is quite pricey so a more affordable option will help those on lower incomes to achieve the look, although I do think the designs shouldn’t be copied quite so identically. (I get that Tatty Devine is handmade, just offering another side to the debate.)

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@Becky @ life/style/flash. blog: I am continually horrified by the assumption that because a thing/product is unaffordable to some, it is therefore acceptable to buy a knock off version – because ‘everyone deserves it”.

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@LLG: I do definitely agree, just offering another point of view.

Personally, if I can’t afford a Mulberry handbag I’d rather just buy a nice leather bag that is on my budget than a plastic faux-Alexa that’s been dubiously made and sold.

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Plagiarism is really crap and devastating for designers and creators. What a cute dog by the way! I have to buy such a thing for my dog.

Take a look at my blog if you like; http://killerforfashion.blogspot.com

//P.

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Your wish is my command – here is the email I have just sent to Claire’s:

‘I am writing to protest at your outrageous plagiarism of Tatty Devine designs, which I have just read about on the LibertyLondonGirl fashion blog.

Plagiarism is always bad, but for a big powerful company like Claire’s to steal the work of a small, independent firm is particularly egregious behaviour. Even nastier is the fact that you are censoring all criticism of this from your Facebook page. That is not good business sense – you are alienating your own customer base.

I have been a regular customer of Claire’s for several years, but won’t be setting foot inside one of your stores again until you have redressed this issue and issued a public apology to Tatty Devine for the THEFT of their work.

You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves on all counts – and need to realise very soon that your corporate behaviour is incredibly bad business sense, as well as completely unethical.

Shame on you.’

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