Urban Outfitters has a knack for bringing cutting-edge, city-style designs to middle America folk via their mall locations across the country.
However, the chain also has a bit of a rep for sticky fingers when it comes to mass-producing unauthorized versions of indie designers’ exclusive pieces. Etsy shop owner truche says she’s the latest victim of the chain’s idea-lifting habit, and describes the heart-sinking feeling she had when she saw her unique design for sale on Urban Outfitters’ site, complete with copy very similar to her own. Truche links to a Village Voice piece detailing the chain’s thievery, and says:
My heart sank a little bit. The World/United States of Love line that I created is one of the reasons that I was able to quit my full-time job. They even stole the item name as well as some of my copy.
I’m very disappointed in Urban Outfitters. I know they have stolen designs from plenty of other artists. I understand that they are a business, but it’s not cool to completely rip off an independent designer’s work.
The link to Urban Outfitters’ thievery is currently borked, but screenshots and detailed accounts of the blatant rip-off proliferate across the internet. Truche says she will no longer patronize UO, nor will she shop at the chain’s sister stores, Anthropologie and Free People.
Do incidents like this make you less likely to patronize big retailers? Does piracy irritate you more when it’s perpetrated upon indie sellers and Etsy users? Here’s a pic of one of truche’s original designs, to compare with the one above: