Wiggle has rejected allegations of plagiarism brought against it by Anna Glowinski, founder of women’s cycle clothing business Ana Nichoola, who had accused the online retailer on Friday of copying the star pattern used in a number of her designs for one of the products in the Blok range produced by its dhb in-house brand.
Over the weekend, Wiggle, which had come under criticism on social media as a result of Glowinski’s claims, promised that it would investigate the issue today and publish its findings, and did so this evening in a post on Facebook.
The online retailer, which said it has a “zero tolerance” approach to plagiarism, insisted that “no designer employed by us (directly or indirectly) has broken any of our policies or, more importantly, contravened our values.”
On Friday evening, designer, cyclist and TV presenter Glowinski had said she was “angry” and “heartbroken” after seeing dhb’s Superstar jersey, noting that Wiggle staff had met her at her office and studio around 18 months ago. She accused it of "copying" her design.
She said that she showed them some of her designs, and that they had later spoken about her collaborating with the company, but Wiggle decided not to proceed with that.
In a detailed statement which you can read in full below, maintained that the discussions with her involved its buying team which it says operates separately from the dhb design team, and that the latter “had no knowledge of any conversation with Anna Glowinski, nor any sight of her designs.”
Wiggle added: “We have shared this statement with Anna before publishing and have offered to meet up and take her though our design process and all of our inspiration material.
“We appreciate that the coincidence of the designs might have been puzzling for her, though there are so many designs in the marketplace today that it is unsurprising that these similarities coincidently appear from time to time.”
At the time of writing, Glowinski has not yet responded to Wiggle’s statement on either her Twitter feed or Facebook page.
Here is Wiggle’s statement in full:
Hi friends of Wiggle.
As promised, following our internal investigation here is our statement regarding Anna Glowinski.
At Wiggle we pride ourselves on our integrity, fairness and transparency. Therefore we have taken the claim made by Anna Glowinski (through Facebook on Friday 24th October 2014) that we have plagiarised one of her designs for our new dhb ‘Superstar’ Jersey very seriously.
After conducting a detailed and thorough internal investigation we have concluded that no plagiarism has occurred and that no designer employed by us (directly or indirectly) has broken any of our policies or, more importantly, contravened our values.
We categorically do not participate in or condone plagiarism under any circumstances. This is a zero tolerance policy for us. Our review gives us full confidence in our internal processes and the integrity of our staff in ensuring that this could not happen. We thank our colleagues for their openness and support in resolving this issue in a timely manner.
As this story is in the public domain, for our customers’ information and on behalf of our hard working colleagues that have been affected by this story, we layout our key findings below:
• On 17/1/2013, Anna Glowinski met with members of our Cycle Clothing Buying team at the London Bicycle Show at Excel.
• On 24/1/2013, Anna Glowinski sent a proposal to our Cycle Clothing Buying team regarding the possibility of her designing an exclusive collection for Wiggle.
• On 12/7/2013 our Cycle Clothing Buying team met with Anna to discuss this potential collaboration.
• On 7/8/2013, having reviewed Anna’s proposal, our Cycle Clothing Buying team emailed Anna, politely declining to range the product and sharing our feedback with her.
• On 21/7/2014, following her resignation from AnaNichoola, Anna Glowinski contacted our Cycle Clothing Buying team again, enquiring if there was the possibility of her working for Wiggle. We considered this kind offer carefully, but again decided to decline this proposal. No designs or products were discussed in these subsequent communications.
• It is important to highlight that our Cycle Clothing Buying team (based in Portsmouth) work independently from our dhb Design Team (based in London). There has never until this investigation been a conversation between these two teams at Wiggle regarding Anna Glowinski or AnaNichoola.
• Therefore it is unsurprising that in parallel (and unrelated to) the conversations and meetings between Anna and our Cycle Clothing Buying Team, our London based dhb Design team were independently working on our Autumn/Winter 2014 range, including our ‘Superstar’ Jersey. We register the intellectual property of all of our designs and to do this must save all of the ‘inspiration materials’ and initial ‘draft designs’. We can confirm with confidence by reviewing this audit trail, that the dhb Design team had no knowledge of any conversation with Anna Glowinski, nor any sight of her designs. Additionally, there had been no communication between our Portsmouth Cycle Clothing Buying Team and our London dhb Design Team relating to this new range.
• The inspiration for the Superstar Jersey (and indeed the other designs in our dhb Blok range, which it forms part of) involved many influences, including national flags and jockey jerseys – absolutely none of which could be traced from AnaNichoola or Anna Glowinski. To be clear the dhb Design team have never been in contact with Anna Glowinski or AnaNichoola Ltd at any stage.
We have shared this statement with Anna before publishing and have offered to meet up and take her though our design process and all of our inspiration material. We appreciate that the coincidence of the designs might have been puzzling for her, though there are so many designs in the marketplace today that it is unsurprising that these similarities coincidently appear from time to time. We wish Anna every success in her new endeavors.
We would also like to take this opportunity to reassure our loyal customers that we, as ever, stay true to the core ethics and principles that have led to our success to date and thank them for their continued support and custom.
Thanks for reading.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.