Yesterday something pretty interesting happened in the online social world. Large international clothing chain Urban Outfitters, who is notoriously known for infringing on peoples rights and blatantly stealing their designs did it again. This is nothing new to those in the creative or fashion field, what is interesting is that they have no shame. Their demeanor is similar to a shady politician who gets caught with an underage prostitute and acts as if sex crimes laws do not apply to him. Not only did they steal a design right from an etsy shop, but they went on ahead and stole the name and the copy for the advertisement.
Here’s one of the Original “I Heart NY” necklaces:
And Urban Outfitters’ ripoff “I Heart ____” necklace:
When online blogger Amber Karne’s at My Aim is True ran across a facebook post on the issue she decided to put up a tweet that it is time to start boycotting Urban Outfitters, or something along those lines, with a picture of the stolen design. I guess that enough people and grass roots designers had just about enough of UO’s shenanigans and within hours the tweet went viral. With the help of nitch online communities like etsy and other designer outlets, not only did the tweet spread across twitter but it spread across other social medias like tumbler and Facebook. In no time the term Urban Outfitters began trending all over the place. The Huffington Post and Boing Boing picked up the article and off it went. Soon Urban Outfitters fans began blowing up their Facebook fan page. Many of Urban Outfitter customers who are outside of the independent design community were completely shocked and hadn’t heard of their previous douchebaggery in ripping off indie artists.
Then all of the sudden the item was gone and “this item is no longer available” appeared on the item page on Urban’s website.
Blogger Amber Karnes mentions a few valuable lessons that we should all keep in mind in this brave new world:
- Don’t Underestimate the Power of Tribes
- If you have customers social media matters
- People love a cause
For those of you that do not already know this, but if you google “Urban Outfitters” and “Infringement” – you will find over 169 thousand results & cases about Urban Outfitters infringing upon young/small designers & clothing lines.
I would really recommend checking out Amber’s article in it’s entirety at http://www.myaimistrue.com/2011/05/urban-outfitters-ripoff-trending-topic/
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