With London Fashion Week starting tomorrow, designers are closeted in studios putting finishing touches to their collections. But one of them may have cause for complaint – the discount retailer Primark is selling copies of one of her outfits at a tenth of the price of the real thing.
The Greek designer Mary Katrantzou, 29, will have no trouble spotting similarities between the £41 striped floral print blazer and trouser set which arrived in Primark branches this week, and those featured in her own spring 2012 collection, shown in London last September.
The copycat outfit came to light yesterday when another designer, Michael Van Der Ham, posted on Twitter a photo of the Primark ensemble modelled on Lorraine Kelly's ITV1 show. "Thank you to Primark for ripping off Mary Katrantzou," he said. "Very supportive."
Ms Katrantzou, a graduate of Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design, will unveil her autumn collection at fashion week next Tuesday, and is also launching a collaboration with Topshop which hits the shops tomorrow.
"It is completely shameful," said Melanie Rickey, the fashion editor at Grazia. "Primark should take it off sale immediately. They wouldn't dare do this to a big label like Jimmy Choo or Prada, but they know young designers are in a weak position."
Mr Van Der Ham added: "It is dispiriting that big high-street chains copy from young designers. It's hard enough setting up a new business without this."
Ms Katrantzou refused to comment and Primark could not be reached for a statement.