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Indie Designers Take on Urban Outfitters Via Twitter

May 27, 2011

Examples of Koerner's jewelry workBy Gilbert Falso :: 3:17 PM

Independent designers in the craft jewelry community have banded together over the past two days, using Twitter to call out clothing and accessories retailer Urban Outfitters for counterfeiting the work of artist Stevie Koerner.

It all started when a customer of Koerner’s Etsy jewelry shop told her that similar designs had appeared on Urban Outfitters’ website. The designs in question were necklaces of the 50 states, with hearts punched out in the centers.

On Wednesday, Koerner posted a message on her Tumblr blog that read, “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.”

That post was like ‘the shot heard round the world’ in the design community. Koerner’s post was quickly picked up and linked on Thursday from Twitter by Amber Karnes. She Tweeted, “I think it’s time to boycott Urban Outfitters. They have done this to so many independent artists. NOT OK.”

Within just a few hours, Urban Outfitters became a trending topic on Twitter, and plenty of people jumped in to support Koerner’s cause. Twitter users flocked to the Urban Outfitters Facebook page to vent their criticism. Across Twitter, users were calling the situation a “PR Nightmare.”

Urban Outfitters acknowledged the situation with only one Tweet – saying, “Hey guys, we see your tweets regarding the I Heart Destination necklace. Please know that our accessories buying team is looking into this.”

By the end of the day on Thursday, the link to purchase or view the counterfeited jewelry had disappeared from the Urban Outfitters website.

At this point, it does not appear that Urban Outfitters has released a statement to the press regarding this situation.

Filed under → Social Media, Twitter

One Comment
  1. This happens all the time. There are companies ( that are paid tremendous amounts of money by other huge companies to go to art exhibitions and take photos of the pieces with lots of details, and put out a newsletter to their clients with all the images for “inspiration”. The already wealthy corporation makes more money off of stolen designs, and the original artist makes nothing. It’s disgusting.

    Anyone who wants a copy of one of these reports should contact me through my website. Also, there is a website devoted to design theft: some of the claims are longshots, but some are more than valid: