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Yesterday, Urban Outfitters launched an online jewelry boutique featuring rings, earrings and necklaces by independent designers alongside its own collections. Curiously, one of those indie labels is Brooklyn-based Species by the Thousands, which was highlighted in a recent Brooklyn Paper article about Urban ripping off local jewelry-makers. Turns out Species was in talks with Urban even before the piece came out—which might explain why Species creator Erica Bradbury sounds so unfazed by the alleged knocking-off in her quotes in the paper.
Everyone knows Urban constantly "borrows" ideas from young designers, but this sounds like a best-case scenario: They liked Bradbury's stuff, so they invited her to sell with them. Of course, this initiative only works if shoppers are willing to pay the online boutique's prices, which are a lot higher than what the chain charges for its usual trendy-but-kinda-junky-but-so-easy-to-buy accessories. Then again, by supporting emerging labels, Urban's giving us what we all really want: Moral justification for spending $200 on a two-finger ring.
· Bling Bling: Urban Outfitters' Jewelry Studio! [Teen Vogue]
· Women's Jewelry [Urban Outfitters]
· Is Urban Outfitters Ripping Off Brooklyn Flea Designers? [Racked NY]