Screenshot via Tara Burke
American clothing and home goods retailer Anthropologie has apologized for selling products that seemed to have copied an Australian ceramic artist’s style without her permission.
Two days ago, Sydney-based ceramicist Tara Burke took to Instagram to spotlight her beef with the retail giant.
According to Burke, a representative from the company had visited her studio in February 2016 to discuss a possible collaboration, which she eventually declined.
“During the visit, they photographed my ceramics and we chatted about how I work,” she recounted. “They proposed the idea of me designing and prototyping some vases for Anthropologie, which they would then produce on a larger scale to sell.”
“I declined (it just wasn’t the direction I wanted to take my business), and we went our separate ways.”
Just when she thought that was it, the artist discovered from a friend that Anthropologie had started selling similar designs to her vases on its website in 2018.
Burke urged holiday gift shoppers to, “Buy local! Support small businesses!”
The company has since clarified with DesignTAXI that the products were purchased by an independent vendor.
Anthropologie has since apologized for selling the ceramics without recognizing their likenesses with Burke’s designs, stressing that the welfare of independent artists was “a priority for Anthropologie,” and that it took intellectual property “very seriously.”
“We deeply regret that in this instance, our safeguards did not hold up to our standards,” the brand said in a statement picked up by the BBC. “We have tremendous respect for the artist community and are exploring how we can further strengthen our protocols.”
“The product in question is no longer available and we are reaching out directly to Tara Burke.”
Burke confirmed with the BBC that the brand had indeed reached out to her via telephone, but did not mention if Anthropologie had offered compensation.
While Anthropologie’s vases can no longer be found on its website, Burke has uploaded screenshots displaying the similarities between the products that the retailer had listed—shot against blue backgrounds—and her artworks, which you can view in the carousel below.
Bit of a long post ahead so in sum: @anthropologie is scum In February 2016, @anthropologie visited my studio in Sydney to discuss 'how we could collaborate together’. During the visit, they photographed my ceramics and we chatted about how I work. They proposed the idea of me designing and prototyping some vases for @anthropologie, which they would then produce on a larger scale to sell. I declined (it just wasn’t the direction I wanted to take my business) and we went our separate ways. In 2018, @anthropologie sold the vases pictured. The photos with a blue background are @anthropologie vases and all other photos are from my own Instagram account (from 2015 and 2016). After debating whether or not to post publicly about this for the better part of the year (I know this is not the first nor will it be the last time something like this happens), I decided staying quiet felt too much like letting them get away with it and I didn’t feel like doing @anthropologie any favours. With gift-giving season approaching, please consider carefully who you’ll be supporting with your precious money. Buy local! Support small businesses! Thanks for reading x #ceramics #australianceramics #anthropologie[via BBC, images via Tara Burke] http://www.designtaxi.com/news/402223/Anthropologie-Deeply-Regrets-Retailing-Copied-Work-From-Sydney-Artist/
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