Something's rotten in the state of jewelry design | Bleader

Friday, May 27, 2011

Something's rotten in the state of jewelry design

Posted By on 05.27.11 at 05:00 PM

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Featured this week on Local Wares, the Reader's column listing cool stuff made by Chicagoans, was a necklace by Stevie Koerner. Pretty, stylish, and most importantly a show of loyalty to a great state, the heart Illinois necklace (pictured) is one of a number of metal necklaces of heart-inscribed states Koerner sells under the line tru.che.

Heart Illinois necklace by tru.che
  • Courtesy of tru.che
  • Heart Illinois necklace by tru.che

If allegations Koerner made Wednesday prove true, and the Webiscite (that's Web+plebiscite) is voting in her favor so far, then it might turn out buying a necklace from Urban Outfitters is a pretty unstylish thing to do.

Koerner took to her Twitter and Tumblr pages Wednesday arguing that Urban stole her necklace design. She showed a screenshot of an Urban Outfitters necklace whose pendant was in the shape of New York and made out of metal, with a small heart cut out in the middle. Another blog puts that necklace and Koerner's version side-by-side, and the similarity is compelling. "Hey @UrbanOutfitters, this is NOT COOL. Way to rip me off," @stevie wrote.

Furthermore, this isn't the first time Urban has been accused of lifting its hip, edgy designs from some one hipper and edgier. But it does seem to be the first time people are doing much about it, as hundreds of people on Twitter have joined a call to boycott the store and its affiliates Anthropologie and Free People; Urban's Facebook wall has been inundated with browbeating messages, like this one from a guy named Brad Pope: "UO - nice work. Oh wait...not youre [sic] work." The backlash is so big it's reached CBS News.

For its part, Urban Outfitter's Twitter acknowledged the outrage and noted "our accessories buying team is looking into this." The alleged counterfeit necklace is no longer available online. But since Koerner tweeted that she's looking for an intellectual property lawyer, the controversy is unlikely to be over just yet.

It does leave two burning questions: Are you likely to boycott Urban Outfitters (if you haven't already done so for some crime against fashion)? And which will be the next Local Wares featuree to make the news? At this rate, it's just a matter of time.

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