Bitten by Sarah Jessica Parker: Why I am taking the Photos Down

UPDATE: Steve & Barry’s lawyers called again (on my cell phone -which perhaps the rudest thing EVER and borderline harassment). Apparently we didn’t remove all the pictures (some were left in the extended entry portion by mistake) and they threaten to file a brief in court by the end of today if we didn’t take them down.  An issue that I was willing to let die, now makes me want to fight again.

Which doesn’t make sense- it would turn this very minor, blogger issue into a story for the rest of the media.

I truly hope the Oprah shout out is big enough to compensate for the negative buzz you’ve generated on the web.

I’ve thought about this quite bit, read all of your comments, and came to the conclusion that I will remove the pictures. In the end, it was a legal decision (I’m no Perez Hilton) , but I didn’t want to remove the photos before giving you the, readers, the opportunity to weigh in. I also think it’s important for consumers to have some understanding about the process by which things are marketed and sold to us.

This issue is bigger than me, TBF, or even my fellow fashion bloggers.

The fashion industry as a whole (retailers, pr firms, magazines), are so used to dictating “what one should wear”, that it’s difficult for them to operate in a time when the “dictated” has the ability and the means to talk back.  I doubt any of the major magazine would allow readers to discuss whether or not to remove a photo, feature, etc. I also doubt Glamour would write a full page feature supporting some fight waged by Cosmopolitan, like many of my fellow bloggers did in supporting me.

The bottomline is: they want you to buy the “celebrity endorsed/created/designed” line, but they don’t want you to have an opinion about it. They just want you to buy it.

Fortunately for us we’re no longer living in a time where we mindlessly gobble up marketing messages. This presents a VERY big problem for publicists, because it’s hard for them to “control the message” in a time when controls lies in the hands of individuals, not the fashion editor at Marie Claire.

The fact is blogs are the influencers, not the monthly magazines. When I want to know what is going on in the fashion world, I read fashiontribes or coutorture- not Vogue. When I want to know what is going on with tech, I read TechCrunch, not Wired.

So, in the end, the legal issue won out. Steve & Barry’s is not an evil company. A bit weak on the pr end, yes. But evil? No. Plus, I would personally rather spend my time writing and chatting about the new budget looks for spring, than stuck in a NYC courtroom.

 

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Comments

  1. Jenn P says

    i respect your decision to take them down! good choice. i would have taken the high road too. who wants to get tangled up in a legal battle over s&b’s anyway? i mean, it’s s&b’s for pete’s sake.

    i will admit that i’m one of those haters of the SJP line. it looks like the same old cheap crap that you can get in any other store in the mall. trendy? sure, and i know that most don’t want to drop $$ into something that will be out of style next week, i’m right there too, but let’s be serious. do we need another line like that? smells like a wet seal to me. fitting that it’s a line at s&b’s. i own college t’s and sweatshirts from s&b’s and that’s about as far as i will ever go. btw, i love SJP. i think she’s awesome, but she should have waited until something really cool came along instead of going for el cheapo crapo. and if nothing ended up coming along, she would be better off. s&b’s is just all mad that their line was getting razzed. oh boo-hoo, go cry in the corner. everyone is so sensitive nowadays. stick to t’s and sweats! at least that’s crap i can wax my car with when it falls apart in the laundry.

    … and love TBF! i’m glad the blog is still here! :) keep up the good work!!! :)

  2. Jane says

    I think the damage has been done to the line, due to negative reviews here, but well, you catch more flies with honey, etc.

  3. says

    I think you made a wise business decion to take them down, a legal battle would have just drawn in negativity and used all your energy where you could have more fun posting and finding fashion tips for your readers.

    “The fact is blogs are the influencers, not the monthly magazines. When I want to know what is going on in the fashion world, I read fashiontribes or coutorture- not Vogue. When I want to know what is going on with tech, I read TechCrunch, not Wired”.

    This is true, very true, SU`s new print hits the market the end of spring but the Online verison came first, Unlike for example Vogue was in print first, then online.  It is just an embellishment to the online site.

    I really respect you taken down the photos it was a solid and ethical business decion.  Kudos to you Girl!!!

    Ai Ono
    She Unlimited

  4. says

    Wow!  This is nuts.  I totally agree with everything you said.  I think people are tired of being told what’s hot and what to wear and there is a huge disconnect between what’s hot on the runway and what is hot on the street. 

    Keep your chin up, you’re doing a fantastic job!

  5. says

    I think you make a good point in that the fashion editors are not the fashion dictators anymore. People can and do think for themselves; if the line doesn’t speak to fashion zeitgeist, a shout out on Oprah won’t help it, whether or not your blog had some early pics.

  6. Lin says

    unbelievable, but i think this lame action on their part lends a lot of weight to the role blogs like this play in the fashion industry (like u said).  if it wasn’t a big deal, they wouldn’t have made an issue out of it. wonder what SJP would make of all this… anyone ask her?  heheh.

  7. Michelle says

    Good for you and we do understand that 100%, as we would not want to be in court either.  We saw them already any way.  Its too late for that, the boat has sailed.  I must say, I had seen them before, I just cant place where.  Good luck, keep the good articles/news a commin

  8. Lucky says

    You’re absolutely right! When I want beauty and fashion information, I hit the blogs. In fact, I hit the blogs (rather than the mags) for almost any kind of info. You did the right thing. I’ll frequent this blog as long as it’s on the web, and hopefully, that will be for a long, long time!

  9. Erica says

    Umm am I the only one who thinks even if Oprah said she would only wear these clothes for the rest of her life that they would still be ugly?
    Okay sorry we had such a negative reaction but I think if you put the pics up after it has been mass spread in advertising, then we would still say the clothes are ugly. Bottom line the clothes are ugly. I am not trying to be mean to Steve and Barry’s but that’s the truth. So deal with it.

  10. TBF says

    Thanks helena for your comments, but I would suggest you read my original post regarding the line. It seems that you’ve been misinformed regarding my opinion about the line by your friends at S&B ( I’m sure they just lumped all us bloggers together “Those damn bloggers will be the death of us!”, which is often what happens out of ignorance of the blogsphere). To understand the issue completely, read the original post:

    http://www.thebudgetfashionista.com/archives/fashion/yea_or_nay_bitt.php

    In the original post, stated twice that I both WANT TO LIKE THIS LINE and that I will HOLD JUDGMENT UNTIL I SEE THEM. I also said that there are some cute basics in the line.

    Basically, influenced no doubt from lawyers (smiles), Steve & Barry’s turned a manageable pr crisis into a legal issue, that has now reduced it’s credibility with some members of an entire new form of media. I hope, for S&B sake, that Oprah is worth it.

    So, I’m putting this issue to bed. I have shopping to do

  11. helenashops says

    I have to admit I’m only a recent viewer of your site, but that’s only because my friend works at S&B and suggested I take a look at what all the fuss is about. I think I can offer a fairly unique perspective here.

    First, I’m an attorney who specializes in trademarks, service marks, copyrights, intellectual property, etc., at a firm serving primarily national consumer brands, so the “is it or isn’t legal” to post those pictures falls in my sweet spot.

    ——-Unfortunately, those readers who believe those pictures are in the public domain are mistaken. It is actually very simple:  If S&B has copyrighted the images, they cannot be used by anyone – online or offline – without the company’s consent. It doesn’t matter if someone else (ie, another website) actually downloaded the images and TBF simply linked its site to the other one. Yes, the internet has become the wild, wild west, but these laws apply regardless.

    Second, I’ve been fortunate to have seen at least 30 items from the SJP line that had arrived at S&B’s offices as of a few weeks ago during a late afternoon visit there to see my friend. I also saw illustrations of every other piece in the line.  (FYI…there’s more then 500 pieces in this line, but the website in question was apparently put together before any other items arrived.) Now, while I’m no TBF, I do possess a certain sense of style and think I can provide a deeper appreciation of what is coming then S&B’s own website can.

    ——-This may sound obvious, but these clothes weren’t designed by Carrie Bradshaw and Pat Fields.  They were designed by a very real woman named Sarah Jessica Parker, not a character named Carrie Bradshaw.  I’m told SJP grew up in a poor family and approached S&B to create a line after seeing the impact that Stephon Marbury’s $15 basketball sneaker was having on poor young men.  Marbury’s wish was to stop kids from pressuring their parents to buy $100 sneakers, and it seems to be working.  SJP apparently was touched by that story and decided that she wanted to do the same thing for women of all ages and sizes.  To accomplish that meant focusing the line on basics as opposed to being fashion-forward.  Looking at all these clothes, you absolutely can see SJP wearing them while shopping with her family, hanging out at home, etc…..not wearing them on a red carpet or in a Sex in the City reunion movie.
    For real women that lead real lives, I personally think they’re going to love the pajamas, henleys, jeans, bags, shoes, loose fitting shirts, and everything else I saw.  That’s honestly just my opinion, but I suggest your readers wait to see for themselves before judging based on a few images.

    Third, my friend has been with S&B in its products area for a few years now, and as a result I’ve had the opportunity to hear Steve and Barry’s story a few times and know their story well…

    ——These are guys who started with a college book store as college seniors because they thought it was ridiculous that college students were forced to pay so much for sweatshirts and tshirts with the name of their school on them, and they wanted to change that game.  Their store did very well, and eventually their concept moved into malls, but it was only recently that they’ve grown their business to include non-collegiate clothes for men.  They have virtually no clothes for women in the store right now, but the SJP line is apparently their major first step in that direction.

    My friend said that SJP’s line will encompass more then 40-50 percent of the store, and when it launches the stores will be completely transformed with new layouts, new fixtures, better trained employees, employee uniforms, and more.  They’re even changing the logo of the company, and recently hired many designers from major women’s brands to help shape the future of the chain.  Again, I think you should withhold your judgement until June 7th.

    Fourth, I was told the entire issue with Oprah having an exclusive is killing them.

    ———They are a company that relies 100 percent on word of mouth to build awareness because they don’t advertise.  I think you can imagine just how important an hour on Oprah and a page in her magazine, as well as coverage in other magazines and TV shows, can mean for a company, but it’s definitely at a price this time around.

    Clearly I’m going to hear the wrath of my friend for sending you this note, but I have a feeling she and her colleagues are being told to leave this alone. I’m not an employee, and S&B is not a client of mine. I’m just another woman that likes your site and thought your readers would appreciate someone clearing up some of the inaccuracies that have been reported on this and other websites. I admit to being subjective, but I promise that has no bearing on the facts I’ve provided.  In just two months you’ll see that for yourself I think.

    Respectfully yours.

  12. Shannon says

    First time to this site and stumbled on this controversy. I work in marketing for one of the biggest brands in the world and at one point was responsible for the rules about how that brand was used by others. Here are my thoughts:
    1. The original article was extremely balanced and great free exposure.
    2. Yep, it’s illegal to reproduce copyrighted images w/o permission. Bottomline, S&B has the right to ask they’re removed and that request is indeed backed by law. 
    3. How they manage that discussion is as much a part of their brand as the photos, especially with a generation that has a different idea of ownership thanks to the Internet. It can be a respectful dialog and I imagine that they could have won a big booster from the owner of this site if they had made that the goal and handled it differently. This site is one of many that has mentioned the SJP line and by far was the most positive/balanced that I’ve seen.
    4. Clearly S&B wants to give an exclusive & get money/negotiating points/exposure for it. If so much was riding on an exclusive they’ve got a much bigger problem than this site and they should be tracking down the employee/vendor who leaked the photos and come up with a more secure system of managing these assets.
    5. I hadn’t even heard of S&B before this launch but now that I have…
    6. My reaction to the name isn’t warm and fuzzy. S&B needs to think more deeply about brand, including that their target audience sees ownership in a different way. Work with it, ya’ll!
    7. Clothing this ‘inexpensive’ is going to be under suspicion: who made these clothes and how much were they paid? Bringing someone as visible and whose brand is so much about femininity and womanhood as SJP to inexpensive clothing could backfire if the answer is a sad one. I hope it’s not.

  13. Lyza says

    In all honesty, I want to be on your side…But, I saw the clothes, and I kind of liked them!!!  It would be impossible to tell if they’re cheap because the photos were so small!!

    The one thing I didn’t like was the one thing you commented on liking—those ugly wide army printed khakis—what were you thinking!?!

    Anyways, I’m happy this happened because that probably means they’ll work 10 times harder to make the clothes better if they really did suck.

  14. Cathy says

    I don’t blame you for taking them down! It’s not worth ending up in court.

    Keep up the good work – I LOVE your blog!

  15. SAUC13 says

    Thank you for keeping this professional and not downing S&B or the Bitten line until it offically releases.

  16. Samantha Monday says

    Unfortunately I was a little late on seeing the pics and would have loved to.  While I do indulge in Chanel handbags and cosmetics, I actually shop at Steve and Barrys quite often.  Im not a wealthy person, so I spend all of my money on handbags and lipgloss, I leave jeans and stuff to stores and collections a little less expensive!!  Anyway, my point is that from what I have heard, I might be set up for a huge dissapointment,but I guess I will have to wait until June to find out!  And yes, the comments are right, the companies just want you to spend your money and not have an opinion on the product, just be walking advertisement that BIG LABEL gets paid to have not pay to have…Best wishes all!

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