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Fashion students accuse Superdry of pinching their designs

Two former fashion students who spent time working at Cheltenham-based global brand Superdry have accused the firm of taking liberties with their designs.

Darcey Rose and Gabriella Finelli have taken to social media to claim the business used very similar designs to the ones they submitted for competitions run by the company, and the sparks created by their posts have been fanned by an article on

Former fashion design and marketing student at Northumbria University, Ms Rose, accused Superdry of 'stealing' her design for a coat  she entered into a competition in 2017 for the firm's Autumn Winter (AW) 2019 collection.

Ms Rose had been invited to work at the Cheltenham head office of the brand, famously started by Julian Dunkerton, who returned to the board earlier this year to put the company back onto a design-led footing.

Ms Rose's post on social media puts her own competition entry design for a high-necked long quilted jacket with an oversized zip toggle alongside a similar coat from Superdry.

"Breaking into the fashion industry as a student is hard when major companies steal your ideas and promote them as their own.

"@Superdry thankyou for making a dream of mine very bitter sweet," she writes, on Twitter, a post which has so far been re-tweet 4,400 times and liked 9,300 times.

On Instagram she goes on to say: "Half of me is over the moon but the other half is angry and upset.

"On paper this coat in the shops has nothing to do with me. When I graduate and go for jobs I won't be able to claim it as my own work.

"The competition was really a way to take ideas from someone who is trying hard to break into the industry.

"This should have been a massive moment for me but instead I feel like my idea was stolen and been fobbed off as someone else's."

Ms Finelli, a former graphic design student at Leeds Becket University who worked at Superdry until 2018, posted the following after seeing Ms Rose's post: "I also won a competition to work in their head office to gain valuable experience. I was delighted to work with incredibly talented graphic designers and created the graphic you see on the bottom left (her Instagram picture shows a series of hand-written Superdry signatures).

"Skip to a few months I noticed the graphic is on a range of womenswear sweats. Naively I thought it was a coincidence, but even so. A little credit would have been lovely."

A Superdry spokesperson said: "Our designs are created by observing market trends and the needs of consumers.

"Superdry produced a very similar jacket in various iterations for AW16, AW17 and AW18 (our Cocoon Parka) which was designed long before Darcey joined us, and longline and oversized puffer jackets are a significant trend piece for AW19.

"Versions of the jacket have been designed and sold by brands from Canada Goose to Uniqlo, and Superdry has used oversized zips and high neck lines for several years."

Comments by readers reacting to the posts have varied from advising creative art students to "see somebody on intellectual property law" to protect their work, with some expressing their solidarity and sympathy, to this: "Firstly you're a talented designer. However I have to say I've been designing puffa coats for 25yrs and they are all pretty much like this. The Superdry one has a different placket, breast pkt and arm pkt. Try and take the positive that you're designing strong commercial product! Xx".

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