LONDON, United Kingdom — Jimmy Choo was sued by the co-founder of its eponymous shoe line who alleged the company launched a campaign to punish her as she prepared to start a new venture.
Tamara Mellon, who founded the shoe brand in the mid-1990s with its namesake before leaving in 2011, claims Jimmy Choo sought to punish her when it learned she was about to start a new brand and publish her memoir. The London-based company threatened manufacturers with the loss of Jimmy Choo business if they worked with her or anyone affiliated with her, she said.
According to her complaint, shoemakers, faced with losing one of their most important customers, refused to do business with Mellon’s new company. The boycott caused Tamara Mellon Brand LLC to file for bankruptcy in December, costing Mellon millions of dollars, she said.
In the suit filed Thursday in New York state court, Mellon said she could not compete with Jimmy Choo for a year after leaving, but once that period expired she faced no other restrictions. Senior management did not discourage her when she told them she planned to start her own brand after the non-competition period ended, she said.
Jimmy Choo did not immediately respond to an e-mail sent after regular business hours seeking comment on the suit. A call to the company’s public relations firm after business hours was not immediately returned.
The case is Tamara Mellon, OBE, v. Jimmy Choo Plc, 654771/2016, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).
By Chris Dolmetsch; editors: David Glovin and Joe Schneider.