Does Urban Outfitters Knock Off Bone Jewelry by Indie Designers?

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Crowe's rib cage is at left, and Urban's is at right. Photo: Lillian Crowe, Urban Outfitters

Jewelry designer Lillian Crowe, 27, makes pieces that look like the rib cage, spine, and skull of a bull. She sells these pieces at the Brooklyn Flea, and released the designs last March. She has noticed similar pieces sold at Urban Outfitters under a label called Waylaid. She believes they may have knocked her off, along with Erica Bradbury, who designs a line called Species by the Thousands. Bradbury and Urban both make a shark-jaw piece, but she doesn't necessarily think she's a knockoff victim.


“It is tricky and difficult to have ownership on designs that rely on casting found objects — whether it's bones or miniature knives,” said Bradbury, adding, “Their version of my shark jaw necklace is more stylized.”

Right, who's to say one or the other thought first that the rib cage of a bull would make a cool accessory? The Brooklyn Paper reports:


A source deep inside the jewelry business said that the retailer knows that it has a reputation for ripping off indie designers.

“When Urban buys something from us, they specifically ask if it's ‘inspired by’ someone,” said the source, who dared not go on the record for fear of endangering a potentially lucrative business relationship. “They know they have this reputation, and are trying to [dispel it].”

Urban hasn't commented and Crowe is trying to take the possible knockoff as a compliment. In the meantime, sounds like we all need some bones to hang around our necks! Spikes are so over.

For Urban Outfitters, it’s bling there, done that [Brooklyn Paper]