UPDATE: According to a Tweet by the necklace's original designer, Topshop has apologized via e-mail and will not be selling the necklace any longer. We're so pleased to see credit where credit is due, and we give major ups to Topshop for realizing their mistake and actually doing something to correct it! This is a heart-warming story for anyone familiar with the ups and downs of fast fashion.
The lines of intellectual property are blurred to the point of being nearly indistinguishable. Art begets art, creativity is inspired by things in the world of the creator — but sometimes, a similarity is so striking it goes beyond inspiration and crosses into a case of a straight-up copycat. As far as we can tell, that's exactly what happened with Topshop and independent Canadian jewelry line La Raffinerie.
Designer Julia Vallelunga has collaborated with big-name brands like Anthropologie and Henri Bendel in the past — but rather than approach her about a possible collaboration, Topshop created what appears to be a near-exact replica of her $120 Lime Burgundy necklace (above, right). La Raffinerie's design dates back to September 2012, but the British fast-fashion retailer (normally one of our faves) just debuted its design on Instagram this past Tuesday. Vallelunga said when she first saw it on her feed, she actually thought it was her own necklace.
"I've been a jewelry designer for 4 years," she says. "I know that in fashion you don't invent anything but there's a line...these kind of things happen too often in the fashion industry." She contacted Topshop about the issue, but hasn't heard back, and said she doesn't understand why, if they liked her designs, they wouldn't just reach out for a collaboration as other brands have done in the past.
Vallelunga has received attention for her cause through social media and via her blog A La Mode Montréal. She says — and we have to agree — that it's important for designers to speak out about these things, and it's "too easy to say all the chains do it." According to the brand's Instagram, the Topshop necklace will soon be available online, and is presently available at the Oxford location.
What do you think? Is this an innocent coincidence, or a cold-blooded case of copycat?
Photos: via Instagram; Courtesy of La Raffinerie.