Thursday, 23 February 2012

Dobbing in the big boys ...

One of the great things about buying work made by small independent artists is that you know you're getting something very special and unique. Designers spend a great amount of time getting their work just right and will have done many sketches and made up many samples before you get to see the end product in galleries like Atelier. So it pains me to tell you that the giant retailer Claire's Accessories has been stealing designs from the London based jewellery design duo Tatty Devine. Do they not have any designers of their own to come up with ideas - surely with the profits they make they can afford a whole team of them. What's particularly annoying, other than the whole plagiarism malarkey (which quite frankly is bad enough), Tatty Devine, who are pretty big on the indie scene - design and make their jewellery themselves here in the UK. Claire's Accessories, however, will no doubt send their designs off to some far flung corner of the world where people are paid pence an hour. This means that NOT only do they steal the original design they also go the whole horrible hog and and undercut the original artist. They should be ashamed of themselves. The find out more read Tatty Devine's blog.

This isn't the first time I've heard of this happening, back when I first opened the gallery a small indie designer had just had an original design stolen by Paperchase. After embarrassing coverage in the national press, Paperchase claimed it was an outsourced design agency responsible for the error and retracted it.

Only a month or so ago I was approached by a maker who sent me images of her work asking if Atelier would represent her. The work had come straight out of the book The Artful Bird by Abby Glassenberg (which happens to be a favourite craft reference book of mine). It made me hopping mad as the maker had done a big mailer to lots of UK galleries claiming the work as her own. I contacted the maker and Abby and the first reply back from the maker was that she hadn't copied the design because she'd used different fabric. WHAT? Anyway in fairness, once she'd had an email from Abby pointing out that being inspired by a piece of work is one thing downright copying it is actually very very wrong and against copyright, so the maker withdrew the work.

On the British high street money talks so it's up to canny shoppers to make a statement with their hard earned cash. Support small independent designers, buy from independent retailers and shop local where you can. That's how you change things. Quoting Gandhi - BE the change you want to see in the world.

Oh and in case you're wondering the photo at the top of the blog isn't mine. I checked that I could use it before I did and I have added a link to the original owner - just click on the pic.

1 comment:

  1. This seems to be happening more and more frequently. It shows a complete lack of respect for our wonderful creative community. It is NOT cool to plunder individual artists original ideas, without their permission, or paying them a fair fee.
    Plagiarism is theft. It should be viewed as a crime, and those responsible made to take the legal consequences. Just saying, like!