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Urban Outfitters removes vases 'ripped-off' from Bristol artist

image copyrightSarah Wilton
image captionSarah Wilton handcrafted the line for Liberty in London in November

A high-street chain has withdrawn a series of vases from sale after an independent artist complained they imitated her designs.

Sarah Wilton, 29, from Bristol, said she felt "sick" Urban Outfitters chose to sell near-replicas of her work in its stores and on its website.

She blasted the company for "ripping off" the line which she had designed exclusively for Liberty in London.

Urban Outfitters said it removed the vases out of respect for her.

Miss Wilton, who creates her sculptures and ceramics at a studio in the Spike Island arts centre, said she first learnt about the apparent copies when a friend spotted them in the Bristol Urban Outfitters and sent her a photo.

image copyrightUrban Outfitters

She said: "I feel like I've been robbed, I'm completely gutted.

"I make unique items that are one of a kind and small batch editions for companies that believe good business comes by collaborating with artists.

"When you buy a work by me you will see my name or mark written by me on the bottom of every single vase not 'made in Vietnam', which you do with mass manufacturers."

The exclusive line was completed in November for the Liberty store in Regent Street, London, with a collection of 100 pots, 20 in five different designs.

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It was a major coup for the independent artist, who studied fine art at the University of the West of England in Bristol and has lived in the city since graduating.

She added: "I feel like this has subsequently affected my reputation and decreased the potential of buyers elsewhere due to the value they have put upon them.

"If I were already established I don't think I'd feel so vulnerable."

A spokeswoman for Urban Outfitters said: "We take intellectual property very seriously, both in protecting what has been developed by our own artists and designers and also respecting the intellectual property and designs of others.

"Out of deference to the artist Sarah Wilton, we have removed the vase in question from stock."

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