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 firstname.lastname@example.org to make your feelings known.
In the meantime, here is the original Tatty Devine blogpost showing the breathtaking plagiarism of their designs.