Primark settle Beckham leather jacket tussle with Brit designers Superdry
By Caroline Grant for MailOnline
Updated: 01:56, 30 May 2009
After David Beckham first wore his leather jacket in 2007 Superdry saw sales of the £175 garment rocket
Most men may not want to admit to craving a slice of the David Beckham lifestyle. But when the fashion icon slipped on one designer leather jacket it flew off the shelves.
And no-frills retailer Primark was quick to follow with a cut-price copy of Beckham's
favourite jacket at a fraction of the price.
Now the high street store has been rapped over the knuckles for copying the design and has promised not to produce it again.
The Cheltenham–based firm Superdry had accused Primark of copying elements of its signature Brad leather jacket.
The two parties eventually reached an out-of-court financial for an undisclosed sum. Primark declined to comment.
The jacket quickly became a best seller for Superdry, who are owned by Laundry Athletics, when Beckham was first seen wearing it in 2007.
The worn-in leather jacket costing £175 soon became a favourite with the footballer and thousands of men were keen to emulate his style. The company has sold 70,000 and 25,000 are already on order for this autumn.
A Superdry director, Theo Karpathios, said they would not let other companies copy their clothes.
'It's an ingenious design and one of our bestsellers. We won't put up with our designs being copied.'
Laundry Athletics’ founding partner Julian Dunkerton added: 'We are probably the most copied brand in the UK and these cases are becoming all too frequent. They take up an enormous amount of time and energy to pursue, but they are very necessary and we are determined in protecting our intellectual property.
The Primark version of the Superdry jacket, above, had similar double collars and took many of the design elements
The brand is one of the fastest growing in the UK as the spending power of its typically 18 to 23-year-old customer has not been hit by the recession.
It can be found in a number of independent shops and their clothes are also sold in department stores such as Selfridges.
According to Dids MacDonald, chief executive of campaign group Anti Copying in Design, the number of design infringement cases was increasing as companies cut costs to beat the economic downturn.
'The investment isn't there for a company to do the design, research and development. Instead retailers look at what's selling – and it tends to be design-led companies that bring out the hottest stuff – take it, change it a bit and hope that's OK.
'To bring a product to market takes time, investment and creative skills. There are a lot of companies out there that are free-riding on another's designs as a fast track to market.'