Chanel is coming under fire for allegedly copying garments that were shown as part of its 2015 Metiers d’Art collection. The Paris-based design house showed the collection, which is meant to showcase and “honor the fine craftsmanship that its artisan partners bring to the house’s collections,” on location in Rome last week. Among the roughly one hundred looks, Fair Isle, Scotland-based knitwear designer Mati Ventrillon, says a number were copied from ones that Chanel’s research team purchased from her this past summer. The garments at issue take the form of women’s and men’s sweaters - such as the one pictured below.
On the heels of the Chanel show, Ventrillon took to her Facebook account to write the following: “Earlier this summer two Chanel staff visited Fair Isle and bought some of my stock garments with the understanding that the garments were for research. I specifically said that I was going to sell it to them because of the reputation of Chanel house and because I would not expect them to copy my designs.” Distinguishing between “traditional Fair Isle patterns” and designs that are original to her, Ventrillon said: “The black and white design and the pattern arrangement is my design. I designed that garment for the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations in 2012 as part of Oxford Street Fashion Flags Campaign.”
Ventrillon is not the only one who is outraged. Gary Robinson, Political Leader of Shetland Islands Council, called Chanel's behavior "shameful copying." Additionally, he reached out to Chanel via Twitter, inviting creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, to discuss the matter with him. Robinson suggests that Fair Isle knitwear company should seek legal protection for its name, like Harris Tweed, which is the only fabric in the world to enjoy legal protection stemming from its geographical status.
As you may know, this is not the first time Chanel has come under fire for copying. In 2012, the design house was ordered to pay out upwards of 200,00 euros in a lawsuit that was filed against it by World Tricot, one of its former suppliers. The French knitwear company alleged that Chanel "slavishly copied" a number of its crocheted designs. And around the same time, we broke the news that for Fall/Winter 2012, Chanel showed bracelets that looked a bit too familiar to ones that New York-based designer, Pamela Love, had previously showed.
According to Ventrillon, she has not yet decided whether she will take legal action, saying: “At the moment I need to think about what I’m going to do next, what action to take.”