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Chanel Accused of Copying Fair Isle Sweater Design

Photo: Pietro D'aprano/Getty Images

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Chanel built an entire Parisian neighborhood for its Métiers d'Arts show in Rome last week, but it's a sweater pattern that's causing controversy. The Fashion Law reports that knitwear designer Mati Ventrillon is speaking out on Facebook over sweaters in the Chanel show that are very similar to her own products. She claims that Chanel staffers visited Fair Isle, Scotland this year and purchased her work for "research."

"Endorsement or plagiarism? Earlier this summer two Chanel staff visited Fair Isle and bought some of my stock garments with the understanding that the garments were for research, I specifically said that I was going to sell it to them for the reputation of Chanel house and because I would not expect them to copy my design. ....little I know," Ventrillon wrote on Facebook. She said that she has receipts that show Chanel bought the garments, and that the brand appeared to have changed a few patterns in its rendition of the sweaters.

Ventrillon asserted on Facebook: "The patterns are traditional Fair Isle patterns but the black and white design and the pattern arrangement is my design. I designed that garment for the Queen's Jubilee celebrations in 2012 as part of Oxford Street Fashion Flags Campaign."

The Fashion Law notes that Chanel's been accused of copying designs in the past. In 2012, Chanel settled a lawsuit over crochet designs that was filed against it by World Tricot, and in the same year, Chanel pulled crystal bracelets that were very similar to those produced by jewelry designer Pamela Love.

The sleeveless round neck jumper as advertised on my website and Lagerfeld model sleeveless round neck jumper.

Posted by Mati Ventrillon Fair Isle-Scotland on Thursday, December 3, 2015

Update: Chanel issued the following statement to Fashionista:

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.