Wiggle faces social-media backlash after accusations of plagiarism

After Anna Glowinski claimed that Wiggle had stolen one of her jersey designs there have been calls for a store boycott. UPDATED
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Last night on her Facebook page designer Anna Glowinski wrote: "18 months ago Wiggle came to my design studio/office and we spent a couple of hours looking at my designs with a view to buy. A year later we talked about a collaboration. The talks went quiet and they brought out their own version. Angry? Yes! Heartbroken? More than I knew was possible! Powerful? Nope."

However, others have since taken up her case, and some have called for a boycott of the online store.

Callum Stock of Saffron Walden said: "Never shopping at Wiggle again after what they have done to Anna Glowinski. Please share and get them to sort it out."

Glowinski claims that dhb, Wiggle's in-house clothing brand, has based one its womens' jerseys on her distinctive design. The jersey is part of dhb's Blok range, which also features jersies in solid colours emblazoned with bold dots and thick lines.

dhb was created by Wiggle in 2004. The Wiggle website says "At dhb, our in-house design & development team in London work with global partners who are experts in manufacturing, materials and technology to deliver the highest quality products."

A statement from Wiggle said: "Anna Glowinski made us aware by email at 23:12 on Friday that she believes Wiggle has plagiarized a design from her range of women's cycling clothing she showed us in 2013. The Wiggle colleague Anna e-mailed was on annual leave, though we did pick it up and respond to her at 17:32 on Saturday.

"We confirmed that we are taking her claim very seriously. We at Wiggle would like to make it clear that we work to the highest ethical standards. If a designer has indeed used Anna's designs and passed them off as their own then we will be taking full disciplinary action and ensuring that Anna benefits from the design royalties. We too would be upset, if indeed this is what has happened."

A further statement is expected later today, said one of Wiggle's external PR executives. THIS HAS NOW BEEN SUPPLIED – SEE BELOW ...

Wiggle began as Butlers Cycles, an independent bike shop in Portsmouth, trading since 1920. Wiggle was created from the shop in 1999 and since had a succession of corporate owners. It is currently owned by Bridgepoint Capital.

The dhb design is above, one of Glowinski's "star" jersey designs is below (one of a number she has produced):

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STATEMENT FROM 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.

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