Urban Outfitters has strongly denied allegations, fueled by a Twitter frenzy, that it stole a necklace design from a jewelry artist in Chicago.
In a statement issued Saturday, the Philadelphia-based fashion-and-accessories company said it "unequivocally" did not copy the work of jewelry designer Stevie Koerner.
Koerner took to her Twitter account midweek to accuse the chain of illegally copying her work. The jewelry designer, who makes silver necklaces in the shape of American states with hearts punched through them, posted pictures of her necklaces alongside photos of strikingly similar ones sold by Urban Outfitters.
"Way to rip me off," she tweeted on Wednesday in a complaint that quickly went viral.
Soon, singer-actress Miley Cyrus was weighing in, and Urban Outfitters found itself besieged with online criticism. The former star of TV's Hannah Montana has more than a million Twitter followers, many of whom belong to the teens-and-20s demographic the company's Urban Outfitters stores target. (Among its other retail brands are Anthropologie, Free People, and Terrain.)
On Saturday, Urban Outfitters responded with a blog post decrying Koerner's allegations as false. It noted that several other designers feature lines with similar necklaces, and it posted pictures of them on its website.
"We are not implying that Koerner stole her necklace idea from one of these other designers," the company said in its statement. "We are simply stating the obvious - that the idea is not unique to Koerner and she can in no way claim to be its originator."
Koerner could not be reached for comment Saturday. Her Twitter account suggested that she had been overwhelmed by the response to her campaign against Urban Outfitters, and she asked her followers to bear with her if she did not immediately reply.