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“Endorsement or plagiarism?” Chanel’s knitwear apology

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Chanel has publicly apologised to a Shetland knitwear designer who was not credited for designs sent down the runway at the house’s 2016 preview show, designs that bore a strong resemblance to her own. 

Buyers for the luxury goods maker visited Mati Ventrillon, who has been running her own garment business in Fair Isle since 2012, earlier this year and purchased stock items for what they said would be research purposes only. 

Within the year, pieces that were very similar to those in Ventrillon’s line appeared at Chanel’s show.

Ventrillon, a knitwear specialist who creates traditional products initially commented on Chanel’s imitations via Instagram. Posting an image of the designs side by side, her caption read “endorsement or plagiarism?”

The luxury label claims that the error was a result of “dysfunctionality” and “miscommunication” within its team and has since apologised for this. 

Chanel has committed to crediting Ventrillon and her designs as the source of inspiration for its new range. 

In an official statement Chanel said:

“Further to discussions that have allowed the parties to clarify this issue, Chanel will credit Mati Ventrillon by including the words 'Mati Ventrillon design' in its communication tools to recognise her as the source of inspiration for the knitwear models in question. Chanel recognises that this situation resulted from a dysfunctionality within its teams and has presented its apologies. Chanel also recognises the heritage and know-how of Fair Isle. Chanel wishes to emphasise that the House is extremely vigilant in terms of its respect for creativity, whether its own or that of others.”

The Fair Isle designer said she had a "great respect" for Chanel and hoped luxury labels and craft designers could continue to work together.

Published on Wednesday 09 December by Talya Misiri

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