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City Chic rips off Jibri

You know, when a plus-size brand makes copies of runway fashion, or designers that only go up to a size 14, I’m pretty sanguine about it. It’s not the best situation, but if regular retailers aren’t going to make clothes in a wide variety of sizes, then more power to the plus-size stores for making fashion available to fat people.

What I don’t condone is a plus size chain store ripping off a smaller, independent plus size designer.

Kiki of Why, Kiki, Why? broke the story here, but I felt I had to chime in.

City Chic, who are one of Australia’s few plus-size fashion chains, have blatantly and unapologetically ripped off Jibri, an independent plus-size retailer who sells through etsy.

Here is City Chic’s Bumba top, a part of their current Spanish Rose Collection:

And here is Jibri’s Plus Size Ruffle Front Halter:

Eerily similar, don’t you think?

I contacted City Chic via their contact form to complain – I know that technically designers can’t copyright their products, but I was (and am) so angry that I wasn’t thinking super-clearly:

I am frankly appalled to discover that City Chic has blatantly lifted a design from a small, independent plus-size manufacturer. Your Button Bumba top is an obvious rip off of Jibri’s plus size ruffle front halter (http://www.etsy.com/listing/50369223/jibri-plus-size-ruffle-front-halter). I will not shop at stores that participate in the theft of small designers’ intellectual property.

Kind regards, Zoe (www.axisoffat.com)

I didn’t hold high hopes of getting a particularly interested response, and I was right:

Hello,

Thank you for contacting City Chic customer care. Your concerns have been sent through to our buying and supply team and they will look into this further.

Kind Regards,

Jasmine

While I’m heartened that they might actually forward this on to their buying and design team, the official response from City Chic’s facebook page doesn’t fill me with hope:

City Chic Hi Jen,

Yeah, as Sarah said, all designs are copied… Our buying team set out to different locations around the world, and check out what’s happening in the fashion world with trends, and upcoming must-have-items… It’s not about stealing credit from other designers, it’s here for you to have, not only for plus sized ladies to wear, but at a fraction of the price!!!!

Hope this answered your question!

♥ CC, x

It’s this comment that makes me want to facepalm so badly. Because here’s the deal: Jibri charges $90.00 for a custom-made garment. City Chic? $79.95. For mass-produced garment. Which, if you were buying internationally (and City Chic does seem to be trying to crack the international market), would actually be more than Jibri’s price, thanks to the cost of international shipping and the strong Australian dollar.

The comment about “credit from other designers” leaves a nasty taste in my mouth, given that there was no credit whatsoever given to Jasmine, the designer of Jibri.

City Chic might think it’s appropriate to copy from small, independent, plus-size designers, but I don’t. And that’s why I won’t be shopping there from now on. If you value supporting small businesses, up-and-coming designers and high-quality, well-priced fashion, I highly encourage you to vote with your wallet and take your business elsewhere.

Remember; despite what City Chic wants you to believe, there are other options out there. If you want to support Australian businesses, why not try Entitled, or Dream Diva?

As Kiki and Derryn would say: Shame, City Chic, shame.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/jibrionlineJi

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  • http://www.australianfatshion.com Sonya

    Seriously, disgusting.

  • Pia

    Bah. Jindi’s one is much nicer, without the black panel at the bottom. Plus, you can get it custom-made for a perfect fit. With the Aussie dollar so high at the moment, you’d be mad to buy anything but the original (and the best).

  • http://twitter.com/Ilaeria Jennifer Doherty

    The only good thing to come out of this whole debacle is that I’ve been introduced to a fabulous Etsy designer that I am saving up to purchase from right now, as well as a couple more Australian designers. I’m really disappointed in City Chic. I’d only recently discovered them and started buying their products.

  • Lucy – City Chic

    Thanks so much for your feedback, we are flattered that you think of our brand with fantastic designers like JIBRI. We support all plus fashion brands and want the fashion industry to include plus designers more in the industry to give them opportunity to grow their business.

    My name is Lucy Doyle and I am the senior Designer at City chic, and I am also a size 18 and wear all of our clothes. I am very passionate about the plus size industry and our brand and our customers. The first response in our facebook page was from our social media team, I would like to give my response to the blog post.  

    In relation to the inspiration for the Plus Size ruffle Front Halter you are saying we “Copied” from Jibri I can assure you that this was not the case. The styling in black and white is classic, the halter neck shape and fitted body are shapes that work for our customer and the pleating trim is a very important trend this season. Any likeness to another design is purely coincidental and in some ways not surprising as the elements of this style are both classic and on trend.

    As you can see at the links below, this fashion trend has been very strong in the regular size fashion brands this season with brands like BCBG MAX AZRIA (Bottom of Form) adopting this style.

    http://bit.ly/c1CmCd
    http://bit.ly/a2SDCl
    http://bit.ly/a4ZqP2

    We ordered this garment in March this year as we predicted this as a trend for the season. Jibri bough this out on June the 28th and by this stage we had almost completed sampling. It was not physically possible for us to have copied the garment as you state as we had designed this before JIBRI offered it for sale.  
    The fact that you consider us to be as on trend and fashion forward as an up and coming designer is flattering for city chic. I review each piece of our range and focus on getting the trend and fit right for our customer, and it is great to know we are up there with the top designers.

    In regards to price the $90 US price does not include tax and would relate to about $100 AUD after exchange rate. If you then add the 10% GST we need to charge in Australia it would be $110. Our price at $79.95 is 30% cheaper to provide you the same quality in a retail store environment that involves significantly greater cost than on-line only retailing.

    We take all feedback very seriously at City Chic and want to say thanks for being part of the plus fashion industry.

    Lucy

  • http://www.axisoffat.com Zoe

    Hi Lucy,

    Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment – I can tell you that as bloggers we value you feedback as much as you value ours.

    JIBRI’s design has actually been around for quite a while; it was in Jasmine’s first collection (hence why it’s listed in the category Signature Jibri Pieces), but I appreciate that the pleating and ruffling is current trend.

    Your comments re: price are noted, but I’ll reiterate that Jibri provides custom sizing at a ready-to-wear price.

    Finally, it’s worth noting that at the moment City Chic have a captive market in Australia. There are no other stores that specifically cater to plus-sizes for women who want to dress on trend (save perhaps the Monroe and Mink lines at Myer). I really hope that you do take this feedback seriously, because the common refrain among my fat friends is that City Chic’s clothing is simply too expensive given the middling quality of the stitching and fabric, which is why a lot of us simply choose to shop overseas, particularly with the relative strength of the AUD at the moment.

    Thanks again for your comment.

  • Em

    City Chic have lost their way! They don’t even do size 24 anymore!! I’m an 18 and that still makes me so furious! They should be expanding their size market, not reducing it. It’s hard enough for young women!! Dissapointing CC.

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