Tamara Mellon is launching a legal battle against her former company, Jimmy Choo, over anti-competitive behaviour. Represented by London based law firm, Olswang, Mellon accuses Jimmy Choo of imposing restrictive terms on Florence based leather suppliers, which state that they cannot work with Tamara Mellon Brand LLC. As a result, Mellon is ”unable to secure suitable production capacity for…luxury leather products and the business consequently has been impaired”.
Mellon founded the Jimmy Choo brand with Malaysian shoe designer Jimmy Choo in 1996. She built the label into a household name before selling it to a private equity company for a staggering £101 million in 2004. In 2013, Mellon announced the creation of the Tamara Mellon Brand, a luxury lifestyle brand offering a full range of apparel, shoes, handbags and accessories.
Jimmy Choo PLC, now a FTSE 250-listed company worth £600 million, has rejected all allegations that it insists Italian leather suppliers do not work with the Tamara Mellon brand as a condition of keeping its business. According to The Daily Mail, Jimmy Choo PLC uses 22 leather suppliers out of more than a hundred in Italy that Ms Mellon could potentially use. A source claimed that the two brands have only one Italian leather supplier in common.
We’re not sure if the alleged restrictions apply only to Tamara Mellon LLC or if they extend to other luxury brands too. It seems unlikely, if the restrictions exist at all, that they would only apply to Tamara Mellon LLC. Although selling in a range of high-end shops including Net-A-Porter, Nordstrom and Saks, the company is hardly Jimmy Choo’s biggest threat. Reports suggest the Tamara Mellon brand is not selling as well as expected and the shoes certainly aren’t spoken of with the same reverence as, say, Manolo Blahnik or Christian Louboutin. More to come on this one!