– C“I thought history was going to repeat itself,” says jewelry designer Katherine Porter.
She’s had huge success with jewelry brand Pearl Octopussy, which she started in 2018. Earlier this fall, she made her debut with her first show during Norway’s answer to international fashion weeks, Oslo Runway.
It is also successful internationally.
But when she receives messages from acquaintances asking if she has collaborated with Spanish clothing chain Mango, the warning lights flash again for the Norwegian jewelry designer.
– I’m afraid to go to the site to check. When I did, I felt completely exhausted, a despondent Porter told KK.
Porter believes the clothing giant has counterfeited its jewelry for the second time.
She says that inspiration is one thing, but imitation is a completely different thing.
KK has tried to contact Mango for comment on this matter. We didn’t succeed.
– The essence lies in the balance of power here, Porter emphasizes, and continues;
-We are still a small brand fighting for existence. We tried to create something unique and offer something that cannot be found on the market, we spent a lot of time creating a distinctive design and deliberately chose a less commercial direction.
In an Instagram post, the brand asked the clothing chain to stop copying its designs.
Many people shared this post, including Norwegian and international fashion profiles.
The Norwegian jewelry brand also posted images of several of its designs against the Spanish clothing chain’s jewelry.
Porter believes that the skewed balance of power makes the issue more dangerous. Which is exactly why she wanted to move forward with her story.
– Creating our world and our unique products has taken some time. So the fact that Mango, which has 15 million followers on Instagram and stores around the world, is selling our designs is grossly unfair.
Porter believes she has been imitated before by the same clothing chain. This must have happened with a pair of earrings last year.
– I sent a lot of messages and tried to contact Mango, but they did not respond to me, Porter is desperate.
– Copying the Norwegian design is a very big problem, says head of industry at Norsk industri, Egil Sundet, over the phone to KK.
– Recently, several Norwegian brands have entered into disputes over this matter. He says that in some cases, big global brands are talked about on the other side, as in this case.
He explains that when a product is successful, copying takes place.
-We are concerned that too few Norwegian brands take the necessary precautions in terms of design and product protection, says Sandet.
He does not want to comment on individual cases, but still says that the photos give “a kind of similarity.”
– It’s not illegal to be inspired, but the balance between inspiring and copying is a delicate one.
KK was in contact with lawyer Martha Næss Borge in Onsagers. She explained that she was speaking on a general basis.
– Counterfeiting and imitation are known problems in many industries, and unfortunately this is still a big problem in the fashion industry, she says.
Borg believes that pure piracy, where the original product is directly copied, and illegal imitations that are close to the original design are a problem.
– In both cases, it can weaken the distinctive character, value of the asset, brand and reputation of the product, in addition to intrusive product copy good intention Created by the original Creator.
Borg reminds us that it’s not illegal to draw inspiration from others.
– There is a limit to what constitutes illegal imitation or infringement of intellectual property rights. When this limit is exceeded, a concrete evaluation must be made.
Porter believes copying is a problem in the industry, calling it devastating.
– There’s a lot of work and love that goes into creating a brand, and the fact that someone else takes it as their own is very exciting and not the least sad.
– Inspiration is one thing, but pure copying is bad and just lazy, the jewelry designer tells KK.
Earlier this fall, the brand won Norwegian Designer of the Year at the Fashion Awards.
– There is an incredible amount of hard work behind it, and with that also comes a responsibility to protect the industry and the design profession.
-It’s ruining a lot for small designers and brands. I only have this, and we are the ones who will be left with the beard in the mailbox when this is over and the design is relaxed. The fact that we also talk about our signature designs is of course very cool,” she continues.
– What do you do then with this matter now?
– I don’t know if there’s anything we can do. I’m trying to get a mango, but the jewelry is already being produced and available in stores.
“Infuriatingly humble web fan. Writer. Alcohol geek. Passionate explorer. Evil problem solver. Incurable zombie expert.”