Urban Outfitters Design Theft?

5 Jun

Recently Urban Outfitters has been accused of stealing the idea f their “I Heart Desitnations” necklace collection from jewelery maker Stephanie Koerner.  In a blog post on the company’s blog Urban Outfitters defended themselves.  They made it very clear that they pride themselves in the collaboration with emergining designers.  They denied anysort of theft and metioned that the concept is not unique to Koerner’s designes alone. 

I think this is an interesting example of both transparency and the use of social media to avoid a crisis.  Urban Ourfitters monitored what was being said about its brand and responed via the company blog before the accusations created a groundswell.  The company was also upfront about the accusations and did not avoid the situation.  I think Urban Ourfitters handled this well, but I would have liked to hae known if the collection was from a contrinbuting designer or from an in-house designer.  I also would have liked to see outreach to Koerner to ensure her understanding.

As a PR student I am on  the look out for examples of how social media is used to avoid conflict, crisis and harm to brands.  All in all, I think Urban Outfitters did a fine job of crisis avoidance.

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