UPDATED: The Cambridge Satchel Company wins the Battle of the Satchels
You can barely walk down the street now without spotting someone with a statement satchel, and one of the biggest reasons behind this (other than Alexa and her Mulberry) is The Cambridge Satchel Company.
Set up by Julie Deane and her mother Freda Thomas on a shoestring budget in 2008, the brand manufactures classic leather satchels in Britain, and has quickly become the go-to brand for fashionistas thanks to their fun colour-choices (like The Flouro and the Pink Classic shown above), their ever evolving designs and cool collaborations with designers like Comme des Garcons.
Unfortunately, with success comes copycats and controversy. In 2010, The Cambridge Satchel Company expanded its manufacturing, calling on Leicester Remedials & Sewing for help producing their now-famous bags.
Within only a few months, the directors of Leicester Remedials & Sewing created Zatchels, a direct rival to The Cambridge Satchel Company, producing spot-on alternatives.
Smell a rat, anyone? Fashion bloggers definitely did, and they let Deane and her team know about these new knock-off bags.
A high court claim was quickly filed, and following a legal battle, Zatchels has now been ordered to pay an undisclosed sum to The Cambridge Satchel Company for infringement of intellectual property rights.
Julie Deane said "We have been overwhelmed by the support for our brand and the loyal following we have amassed. I want to raise awareness of the misconduct that has taken place and to assure our customers that we will stick to our principles and continue to create the best products for them. Despite this negative experience, The Cambridge Satchel Company remains committed to manufacturing in the UK."
At Catwalk Queen we are all for healthy competition and taking inspiration from strong designs and big trends. But there is a huge difference between a high street retailer taking inspiration from the catwalks, and a manufacturer appropriating a design from a client and launching a rival company.
UPDATE: The Zatchels press office has responded with the following statement from Directors Dean Clarke and Brian Brady of Leicester Remedial's and Sewing Limited.
"Whist we strongly consider the claim to be speculative and unfounded, with all of the costs and unpleasantness involved with a high court action, we have decided to settle the claim with a payment. This is to avoid a protracted and long drawn out litigation so that we are able to concentrate on our business, which continues to flourish.
The designs we have been offering over the last few months will continue to be offered and are not affected by this settlement. It is not in any way relevant to our current trading position.
The commercial reality of this type of litigation means it was more attractive to settle with a payment, than to continue to argue, which will serve to detract us as the directors from continuing to grow and support our very successful business.
We are sufficiently satisfied with this outcome and now with this behind us we look forward to a long and successful future with Zatchels."