Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?

posted in: personal | 30
My Perfect Christmas Jumper published November 2009
  From H & M this winter

This has just been brought to my attention on ravelry. Notice any similarities? Even the ‘mock’ box sleeve heads. As a designer, you always worry that this will happen but this seems so unashamed. I have to say its made me feel very sad. I could rant and rave and say a lot of things but as the song says “a picture paints a thousand words…”

for now
Ruby xxx

30 Responses

  1. Vera Amos
    | Reply

    What can you do in a situation like this, as it is a blatant copy? Such a shame but flattering as well, I suppose.

  2. Kaja Marie
    | Reply

    This has to be a joke. Not even the H&M designers can just rip off somebody elses design and not even bother to try and cover their tracks.

  3. Lesley Ann
    | Reply

    I'd be firing off a very angry email to their head office, as it's far too alike to be remotely coincidental.

    Flatery? Yes, but it's plagiarism too.

  4. Lady Cherry
    | Reply

    How awful. Do heavyweight corporations really think they can treat independants in this way and get away with it?

    What are you going to do?

  5. Just call me Ruby
    | Reply

    Really unsure what my options are. I'm great at advising other people but not so good at looking after myself! But I have a lot of designer friends who hopefully can help me decide on what, if anything, can be done. Obviously I don't think its flattering at all, but I'm so flabbergasted by it that I couldn't think of any other way of introducing the post. I'm not one for taking things lying down, so hopefully once I've talked to people and had a good nights sleep I might be able to look at it with a clearer head.

    Thank you all so much for your words of support.

    Ruby xx

  6. Mrs. Exeter
    | Reply

    I'm so sorry this has happend to you, it must be infuriating. I expect they're at it all the time – I don't imagine H&Ms margins allow for employing any genuine design talent. There'll be no mistaking the real thing, though, yours is breathtaking.

  7. Emma
    | Reply

    Not exactly the same, but I saw these tshirts yesterday:

    Admittedly I kind of love them, but they're not so similar to your design.

  8. Nikki
    | Reply

    I think the expression is "Sue you sir!"

    Seriously, that's pretty much blatent design theft. So that's a 15% royalty I'd say…

    Have you a PayPal so we can create a fighting fund for you?

  9. Gavin
    | Reply

    The H&M version sucks compared to yours. If they're going to rip designers off, they might as well do it properly.

    They should've got your input and put a better quality product on the rails in the first place – they'd sell more of them and you'd get the credit and payment you deserve; everyone wins.

  10. Julia
    | Reply

    This might be the result of someone at lower levels being inexperienced and/or, well, dishonest without any of that person's superiors finding out on time (although I'm not sure how their chain of command works, so, you may well ignore me on this point). Anyway, I say this not to justify the ripoff, but to offer the benefit of the doubt and say (and hope) the management might be willing to work something out as soon as the problem is discovered.
    Hope you'll find the solution that will be as satisfactory as it can, considering the circumstances.

  11. Just call me Ruby
    | Reply

    Hi Julia, I have had the same thoughts myself. Job pressures, deadlines etc can cause people to take short cuts and I'm certainly not interested in some poor soul having any 'blame' heaped on their shoulders by a huge company.

    Mimi, as you say, it could be total coincidence and there is a heck of a lot of reindeer out there at the moment. Its just with mine having been around for over a year and easy to find if you google etc it does make you wonder.

    Nikki, thank you for your kind offer. However I fear taking H and M through the courts might take rather too much money but I really do appreciate such a thoughtful gesture xx

  12. Mimi
    | Reply

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  13. Just call me Ruby
    | Reply


    I've just been taking some advice and i'be been advised to temporarily remove the link as it could provide h&m with a 'get out' if they were to deny anything more than coincidence. Will republish once decision made on action to take.

    kind regards Ruby

  14. Anonymous
    | Reply

    I just used google images and sadly, it turns out there are quite a few similar jumpers to yours, like the one on the Chopper website and the one by Ralph Lauren…

  15. fingersandtoes
    | Reply

    Did you follow the Hidden Eloise/Paperchase plagiarism row? Have a read through her blog post:

    She was basically totally shat on by Paperchase… But there's definitely some stuff in there you can learn from.

  16. fabriquefantastique
    | Reply

    Could be that these designs are 'in the air' very traditional here in Canada.
    However the lower one is a piece of schlock….and it shows, nothing classy in that at all.

  17. Aamba
    | Reply

    Wow, pretty flattering that H+M wanted your design, but it does seem like you should have legal recourse. That is stunningly similar.

  18. Ivy Black
    | Reply

    My friend had her textile designs ripped off and only found out when she saw them in Debenhams window.
    I have to say yours is much better quality and I know which one I prefer.xx

  19. Anushka
    | Reply

    Oh Susan I am horrified, and so, so sorry!
    Your design is my dream Xmas jumper and I am hoping to knit one for next year. I hope you manage to work out how to fix it 🙁 xxx

  20. Tanya
    | Reply

    I think a lot of you would be very surprised to find that legally one only has to change a small percentage of any design and it is no longer breech of copyright and that applies to many things, not just fashion. Sad but true. That is why fashion is so fast and cut-throat. I even remember a case of a budget china manufacturer stealing a Villeroy and Boch design that was so blatant but they were able to prove to the court that they had changed it by a small percentage. The costs involved in court are enormous but there is nothing to stop you from pointing out a suspect reputation. We are the power brokers and it is up to us to boycott retailers who do this to others and ask our friends to do the same.

  21. Anonymous
    | Reply

    Textile/fashion designers usually work eighteen months in advance. They are now putting together themes, texture, colour, for spring 2012 and beyond which then get filtered down into the high street shops.. Sorry but this could just be coincidence as there is a fair amount of alpine "classic" knits out there this year! There is also a 40s/50s influence too which would explain the sleeve head.
    Sorry to be so negative but it would be almost impossible to prove
    with such a classic design!

  22. Mimi
    | Reply

    OK, well either way I hope it gets sorted out 🙂

  23. georgievinsun
    | Reply

    That made me so sad and very angry on your behalf. Some people have absolutely no scruples…
    I was only thinking about that pattern the other day and am going to order the book right now!

    x georgie

  24. AnnaLou
    | Reply

    I think they only have to alter 5 design features for it not to be called a copy and high street clothing manufacturers have this down to a fine art. They can turn around a design and have it on the shopfloor within a couple of weeks. You got the inspiration for the design from a vintage pattern so there is a good chance they did as well. You have to just take it on the chin as a compliment and move on to your next project. Sorry if this sounds harsh but thats the way of the fashion world.

  25. Just call me Ruby
    | Reply

    Hi 'anonymous' yes designers do work a long time in advance as I do myself, but high street stores can turn things round in a matter of weeks. Top Shop do it continuously. But yes coincidence cold be claimed I have no doubt which is one of the reasons why I don't see any point in wasting my energies on this other than to post on my blog as I have done.

    AnnaLou, I just want to clarify for readers that there is no number or percentage of alterations legally agreed for something to not be called a copy. If a dispute goes to court it is down to a judge to decide whether the disputed item is sufficiently different to be called original. I agree high street retailers tweek designs all the time but they do also get taken to court regularly by designers who have been copied. Marks and Spencer had to remove 1000's of hand bags a couple of years ago for copying another designer's work for example. Tatty Devine the jewellers have been copied by Top Shop and have successfully had stock withdrawn from their shops, so maybe not so much a fine art but just getting away with it most of the time. Having said that, I agree, this sort of thing happens all the time and you have to keep moving forward regardless 🙂

  26. flossie
    | Reply

    This is so funny (NOT in a haha way) because I watched a recent episode of the US show Glee, and one of the main characters was wearing the red reindeer sweater, and I thought, "I can't believe they're ripping off Ruby!!" I'll try to find a link – I believe it was their most recent Xmas themed episode…

  27. flossie
    | Reply

    aHA! I knew it! Here it is:
    And it IS from H&M. I really hope you have a case here, because honestly, the instant I saw the character on Glee wearing it, I thought of you. That has to mean something!

  28. Just call me Ruby
    | Reply

    Hi flossie, Thanks for that link. I had been told only a little earlier today about the Glee appearance and had been trying to find a good image of it.

    Thanks again

    love Ruby xx

  29. Lois Leigh-Ann
    | Reply

    if it helps, that h&m jumper is hideous compared to yours, which is now on my to-knit list for next year! x

  30. mandicraft
    | Reply

    I love your Christmas jumper, I purchased the pattern at Make Do and Knit in Liverpool earlier this year. The H & M one is not a patch on yours, the quality is poor. Yours is so much better, I will now make mine and wear it with pride !! Red lipstick at the ready too !

Leave a Reply to Lady Cherry Cancel reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *