Chanel Accused of Copying Knitwear Designer Mati Ventrillon [Updated]

Since our initial report, Chanel has confirmed that it used Ventrillon's Fair Isle designs, and will credit her for them.
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Maria Bobila
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Since our initial report, Chanel has confirmed that it used Ventrillon's Fair Isle designs, and will credit her for them.
Peyton Knight in Chanel's 2015 Metier's d'Art Show. Photo: Imaxtree

Peyton Knight in Chanel's 2015 Metier's d'Art Show. Photo: Imaxtree

Chanel's latest Métiers d'Art collection, which debuted in Rome last week, is getting attention for more than just its over-the-top set. Scottish designer Mati Ventrillon is claiming that the collection's Fair Isle knitwear pieces are replicas of her own designs, as first reported by The Fashion Law.

In a number of posts across her personal social media channels, Ventrillon explains how two members from the Chanel team visited her Fair Isle studio over the summer and purchased her garments as research for that very collection. "I specifically said that I was going to sell it to them for the reputation of [the] Chanel house and because I would not expect them to copy my design," noted Ventrillon on Facebook and Instagram. According to images provided by Ventrillon, it's hard to dismiss the similarities between the knits from both parties.

On Twitter, Ventrillon also clarified that she is more concerned about the value of traditional craftsmanship than collecting money from the luxury French fashion house. Her company creates bespoke knitwear garments that are made from organic Shetland wool and made-to-order. Her small business model supports an historic trade — Fair Isle knitwear — that she feels is in danger of being undervalued. "Usually craftsmen find [it] very difficult to put a price on their work and very often their work is undervalued, when you sell your products cheap you are reducing the value of your business and the craft," she wrote on Facebook.

Update: Confirming that the house did in fact use Ventrillon's designs, and will credit her for them, a spokesperson for Chanel provided the following statement:

Further to discussions that have allowed the parties to clarify this issue, Chanel will credit Mati Ventrillon by including the words 'Mati Ventrillon design' in its communication tools to recognise her as the source of inspiration for the knitwear models in question. Chanel recognises that this situation resulted from a dysfunctionality within its teams and has presented its apologies. Chanel also recognises the heritage and know-how of Fair Isle. Chanel wishes to emphasise that the House is extremely vigilant in terms of its respect for creativity, whether its own or that of others.

This post has been updated to include an official statement from Chanel.