Tamara Mellon, one of the founding forced behind who fashion footwear brand Jimmy Choo is now at war with the iconic designer-shoe company. Mellon, departed from Choo in 2012 with an estimated $135 million after a strained relationship with partner Jimmy Choo, is alleging her former company is using underhanded business tactics to spike her new eponymous label’s success. As such, Mellon is threatening to sue Jimmy Choo for millions for allegedly blocking her from working with luxury shoemakers in Florence, Italy.
According to a letter obtained by Footwear News, Mellon’s London-based attorney, a partner at Olswang LLP, writes:
“It has been brought to our attention that Jimmy Choo has engaged in a course of conduct aimed at impairing [Tamara Mellon and Tamara Mellon Brand LLC’s] business by restricting their ability to source production capacity from key suppliers to manufacture luxury leather products, including shoes, bags and accessories.”
The letter goes on to state that after Mellon launched her namesake label in 2013, Jimmy Choo held a meeting with key luxury leather suppliers. During the meeting, Jimmy Choo representative Stefano Savoldi allegedly told the group that “Mellon had established her own brand and this was causing ‘panic’ at Jimmy Choo headquarters.” Morever, Savoldi said there was concern that Mellon would benefit from the same network of manufacturers and suppliers as Jimmy Choo. “Mr. Savoldi made it clear that Jimmy Choo did not want its suppliers working with our clients,” states the document, which also alleges that “Jimmy Choo has approached key suppliers directly and put pressure on them not to do business with our clients” through “side letters” stipulating that factories will not work with Mellon during their contracts with Jimmy Choo.
The letter further states that the effect of Jimmy Choo’s pressure on suppliers has been “extremely serious” for Mellon, and as a result, the company is unable to secure production from the suppliers, and a number of Mellon’s pre-existing relationships have been terminated by those suppliers, according to the letter.
And that's not all, the letter asserts that Choo’s actions are unlawful under European Union laws and that any agreement between Jimmy Choo and its suppliers that stipulates that they not work with Mellon is unlawful.
“Our clients’ priority is to minimize the damage caused to their business by Jimmy Choo’s unlawful business. We therefore request … you provide written assurances to each of the suppliers concerned that they are free to contract with our clients.”
Jimmy Choo responded, “We have received a letter, which is being evaluated. Our initial assessment is that the complaint has no merit and will be vigorously contested. We plan to make no further comment until the process is completed.”