Thursday, January 13, 2011

Copying Designer Fabrics

Over the holidays, I came across an apron with an obvious Little Folks design at a local TJ Maxx. I bought it, careful to save the receipt, and emailed pictures of it to the designer, Anna Maria Horner. She immediately recognized it as a copy and soon accepted my offer to send it to her.
Ms. Horner asked me if I could possibly send her two aprons (for legal purposes in pursuing the infringement) and I returned to the store. They didn't have another Little Folks copy, but instead had a copy of Sandi Henderson's green apple dot from her Farmer's Market collection. This is one of my most FAVORITE fabrics of all time, so of course I was going to recognize that! I bought it as well and Ms. Henderson quickly agreed for me to send it to her.
(A view of part of the apron)

(the fabric they copied - same scale and colors!)
Now, if you know me, you probably already know that I have a bit of an obsessive personality. If a major, revered, and amazing fabric designer asks you for a favor - you are going to accomplish it - even if it means going to all of the local Marshall's/TJ Maxx stores you can possibly find! But luckily- at the next, most local Marshall's store - I found tons of the Little Folks aprons. And, alas, I found yet another copy of a major designer's work: Tula Pink for her Flutterby and Hushabye collections:

(fabric they copied- a piece from the Hushabye collection)
I wrote Tula Pink but still have not received a response. I know that when Wal-Mart ripped off some of her Plume designs, she was not happy.
The company that makes these aprons is called "Simply EnVogue" for their "Sweet Whispers" collection. There is really not much more information on the tags. I feel crazy that I know so much about fabric and could spot these copies so easily. They also had another Michael Miller ripoff- but I had no idea who might have designed it, so I saved myself the trouble and didn't get it. The shameless stealing of other's hard work is upsetting and I do feel bad for these designers who are being robbed.
A few months ago, I spotted a copy of an Amy Butler design from her Love collection - Paradise Garden. I emailed Amy and one of her assistants - never heard from Amy but her assistant did agree that it was a close match.
(reusable shopping bag and notebooks above, fabric below)
What do you think?


Just Jenn said...

Wow, that's pretty ballsy they would knock it off so blatantly.

Joanna said...

So interesting seeing the aprons and designs you were talking about. Just amazing - do they seriously think they can get away with it?! I guess they do to an extent or they wouldn't do it. So sad!

savvy stitch said...

If I saw those aprons I would have assumed that they were not knockoffs, but the real thing! It is surprising to me that those fabrics could be ripped off like that and sold at a well-known store.

Micmacker said...

I was just at a TJ Maxx this afternoon, and spotted this apron line. I was kind of psyched at first glance, but quickly realized that EVERY SINGLE design was a blatant designer rip-off - the ones I saw were all different from your finds. I saw Amy Butler's "Midwest Modern", Heather Bailey's "Fresh Cut", American Jane's "A Breath of Avignon", and possibly Patty Young's "Mezzanine". The fabric was extremely poor quality, and the construction was shoddy, too. All I can say is that this crappy company has really great taste about what to steal. I did an internet search on the company this evening, which is how I found your post.

Amanda Fetters said...

Holy cow, that is terrible! I hope those designers bust that company!