This morning we were made aware via the Tatty Devine blog that Claire’s Accessories are currently selling jewellery that is all-but-identical to Tatty Devine products. Obviously without the consent of this independent British design company. It’s a common problem in retail: a designer produces inspirational jewellery that gains a cult following, then a mega high street fashion company spots the design, copies it cheaply and sells it for a lower price in one of its many chain stores. It’s not ethical, it’s not fair and it’s definitely a grey area as far as the law is concerned.
Claire’s decision to copy Tatty Devine designs, manufacture them in China and sell them cheaply in their stores not only takes sales away from Tatty Devine, but also damages their brand. Judging by their blog comments, lots of people save up to purchase a classic Tatty Devine piece, so to be able to buy a cheap knock-off in Claire’s isn’t quite as aspirational. The Claire’s jewellery will be of far inferior quality, which won’t reflect well on the Tatty Devine originals.
[Related story: H&M accused of stealing 'You Look Nice Today' design]
Rather than face this head on, Claire’s Accessories have apparently ignored all communication from the Tatty Devine team, and are even deleting all comments on their Facebook page from angry Tatty Devine fans, before blocking the posters. Twitter is also full of outraged customers and fans, but Claire’s are not responding to tweets. Underestimating, and in fact ignoring the PR potential of social media is a huge oversight by a company as large as Claire’s – you cannot simply pretend the backlash isn’t happening, when it’s clearly in the public domain. The Head of European Marketing & PR for Claire’s Accessories also had no comment to offer when we spoke to her this morning.
Here at handbag.com we are big fans of Tatty Devine; their fun, innovative jewellery is instantly identifiable. Every collection they produce gains them even more devoted customers – who first fell in love with their iconic name necklaces, and have continued to support the work of Rosie Wolfenden and Harriet Vine, who design and make every piece of their Perspex jewellery in the UK. In their online biography, Rosie explains that "we're proud to represent British design around the world," and Harriet adds "we've always been motivated by fun and independence." Which is exactly why what Claire’s Accessories is supposedly doing is wrong on every level. We sincerely hope that they see sense, remove the offending products, apologise and compensate Tatty Devine – pronto.