ASOS has removed a pair of earrings from its website after an independent designer accused the retailer of “ripping off” one of her creations.
Yuliya Veligurskaya claims the fashion company sold a “poorly executed counterfeit” of her “best-selling” £30 Flame Earrings from her boutique, Studio Cult.
Writing on social media on Monday, the designer from Brooklyn, New York, claimed the brand had “stolen” her design after rejecting her application to become a seller on their Marketplace.
ASOS has since removed the £5 earrings from sale and says it is “immediately” looking into the matter with the third-party supplier who provided the product.
Posting on Twitter and Instagram to her 90,000 followers, Yuliya, 26, shared images showing the resemblance between the two designs.
Both hoops are silver and feature a distinctive wavy, flame pattern at the bottom.
They appear to be roughly the same size, however Yuliya’s product is also available to purchase in gold.
Yuliya also shared a screen shot of an email from ASOS she received on 24 April rejecting her from joining the site as a seller, because her creations were “too similar” to its current offerings.
Posting online, she said: “They took our best selling Flame Earring design and claimed it as their own on their website.
“The listing states that it was exclusive, was labeled ‘ASOS DESIGN’ and ‘Selling Fast’.
“We got ripped off by ASOS. We applied to be a part of their marketplace a few months ago and got rejected, but I guess we’re good enough to be plagiarized.
“Apparently we were not unique enough for your marketplace but we were unique enough for you to steal our intellectual property.”
Speaking today, Yuliya added: “At first I felt violated. My career has been built on turning thoughtful concepts into really unique pieces – and for a small studio like ours, each piece is really special.
“One of the key ideas driving the studio is that every piece is a statement piece and to have seen our work bastardized and devalued like this broke my heart.
“A simple side-to-side comparison of both versions reveals the blatant plagiarism and lackluster execution of the concept.
“Their knockoff is awkward, the proportions are off, and the clasp looks cheap.
“While I can’t speak to further details without their sample in hand, it’s clear from the photos that the resemblance cannot be disputed.”
Since posting about the situation, Yuliya has been flooded with messages of support.
Ellis Ruby wrote: “Oh my god this is so bad! Stealing from small creative businesses who are trying to build their brand as a huge internet fashion company is embarrassing and highly disappointing.”
Erien Tierney added: “Really sorry this has happened to you, but so happy to have discovered your site. Your stuff is cool, will definitely be ordering from you!”
And Jo Bazz said: “Wow this is garbage and yet somehow not surprising at all.”
An ASOS spokesman said: “We take any claims of intellectual property infringement incredibly seriously.
“When we were first notified of Studio Cult’s concerns we immediately removed the product from site while we look into the matter with the relevant supplier.”
A source close to the company also refuted any connection between Yuliya’s marketplace application and the production of the earrings.
They said: “There has been no crossover or sharing of information between the Marketplace team and retail team that was involved in buying the product.”
But Yuliya says she would like to see more done to prevent any big brand from profiting off a smaller company.
She said: “We want accountability: real, meaningful accountability. We want policies to be in place that prevent this cycle from repeating itself again and again.
“Personally, I want an industry that values originality and creativity over expedience and profit.
“For now, we’ll carry on trying to make this change the only way we know how, by designing more of the type of products we want to see in the world.”