Urban Outfitters vs. Etsy Artist Battle Heats Up, Miley Cyrus on Team Handmade

The saga of the hardworking Etsy artist and the idea-stealing moguls at Urban Outfitters has gone infinitely more viral, thanks to former Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus- who pilloried the mall store on her Twitter.

It must be a bit of a blow to the chain to be caught red-handed so prolifically stealing from indie artists, as part of their brand identity is appearing less mass-produced and… well, indie. The tale is another example of how not to conduct business in the era of sharing and social media. In the past, a seller whose work was appropriated in such a way had far fewer ways to fight such an injustice. Maybe she could have written to her local paper, but it’s unlikely she’d have connected with the right people to be properly outraged at the practice.

But the nature of the internet and how sites like these are operated meant the exact people who would up and protest Urban Outfitters for the admittedly sleazy practice were able to access and exponentially share the story through the correct channels. Which got it in front of Miley’s eyes within a single day.

Has your perception of the “edgy” Urban Outfitters image changed since learning about the Etsy fiasco? And does this mean my Anthropologie sweater wasn’t hand-knitted by milkmaids in a roughly-hewn cabin in Germany with strands of elderflower stems?