As I expected, the Patricia Field team had unwittingly purchased the pieces from a wholesaler. (I knew Patricia Field wasn’t a big-enough operation to order rings in the quantity that would be necessary to get the retail price so low. Economy of scale!) I’m sure there’s some factory in China that’s pumping out my design. I will try to figure out which one it is so I can have one of my Cantonese-speaking friends call up and read the responsible parties the riot act. And I’m still going to get in touch with any retailer I see selling the knockoffs. This is likely to be as effective and sane as Bill Murray’s pursuit of the gopher in Caddyshack, but I’m okay with that.
I worked up a head of steam for this effort during the four years that retailers and editors snubbed my swear-ring concept after I introduced it in 2008. It took a manufacturer (or manufacturers) that specializes in ripping off designs to legitimize my concept! And that’s the fashion business in a nutshell. When I was outside the industry, I imagined it was filled with people who couldn’t wait to get their hands on the next new thing. In reality, I meet a lot of sheeple who want the next safe thing. And that’s the brutal Bitchtastic Guide to Business™ truth I’m giving you.
But thanks again to the Patricia Field folks for being so cooperative. I’m very confident they’re not going to pull a Topshop on me, because they like to set trends, not follow them, and they understand the issues of small designers!