Singer Rihanna has sued clothing store Topshop for selling an item with her face on it.
Topshop has stated that it is both “surprised and disappointed” by the verdict handed down today. The store prides itself on the fact that celebrities visit and shop with them.
The fashion store insists that the customers understood that the items were not endorsed by the singer and that there was no evidence to suggest otherwise.
Rihanna sued parent company Arcadia Group, claiming that, with the selling of a T-shirt with her face on it, the company tried to pass it off as being connected with her, therefore leading customers with an “emotional connection” to her to believe that they were buying something official.
Topshop said in a statement: “We respect their [celebrities] boundaries and their privacy, as we do with all our customers. We feel that the fact that Rihanna has shopped, worn and had a relationship with Topshop for several years appears to have been detrimental to our case. There was no intention by Topshop to create the appearance of an endorsement or promotion; indeed this tank was one piece of jersey in a heavily stocked and wide-ranging T-shirt department, and we do not believe it conveyed any false message to our customers. The Judge acknowledged; ‘a very important point in Topshop’s favor is that the swing tag and label on the T-shirt makes no mention of Rihanna… There is no express assertion that the garment is authorised by the artist.”
Topshop then goes on to state that they, “felt comfortable selling the item.”
The firm is considering its options, including appeal. The firm states that the claims of Rihanna being awarded $5 million dollars in damages have “no factual or legal basis” since it hasn’t been determined yet.
Topshop’s lawyer Jeremy Hertzog stated: “Put simply, there is nothing unlawful in selling garments bearing the images of well-known celebrities without the approval of the celebrity in question. Therefore, any intention by Rihanna to create a monopolistic right to control all use of her image on clothing in the UK has failed.
“The Judge made it clear that it is the peculiarities of ‘this image of this person on this garment by this shop in these circumstances’, which led him to conclude that a substantial number of consumers will be confused into believing that Rihanna had authorised the T-shirt.
"Remove one of those factors, for example if Topshop sold a garment bearing a different image of Rihanna, or an image of a different celebrity, or sold the same image of Rihanna at a time when its alleged links with her were less prominent than the Judge perceived them to be, and the decision was liable to go in Topshop’s favor."
Rihanna said the image was taken by a freelance photographer on the video shoot for ‘We Found Love’ in Ireland two years prior.
Her attorneys made a point to say that the image was “very similar” to those on her Talk That Talk album, which would lead fans to believe it was “genuine” Rihanna merchandise and leave them feeling cheated when they found out the truth.