The article below is an update on our original news story, first posted on Tuesday May 10. For clarity, new and amended paragraphs are shown in bold.
Abigail Greydanus, the designer and fabricator who claims during her time at LA-based Syren Latex to have made singer Katy Perry’s latex outfits, is being sued by Syren owner The Stockroom Inc.
In a suit filed at Los Angeles Superior Court last Thursday, Abigail’s ex-employer alleges that she is using some of Stockroom’s designs and is disrupting its business with Perry. The celebrity angle meant the story was picked up by Associated Press, which ran a short report that quickly became a hot Google news item.
The AP report stated that Stockroom is “seeking an injunction blocking Greydanus from selling latex clothing and costumes, claiming she is using designs she acquired during her nearly three years as a latex assembler”. However, when the detail of Stockroom’s filing became available after the AP story was published, it transpired that the main thrust of the company’s complaint was actually that Greydanus was, without its knowledge, privately running her own competing business while employed by Stockroom, and diverting customers to her business.
Abigail did not accept AP’s initial invitation to comment, since at that point she had not been served with the legal papers. But she later posted a statement on her blog responding to what she believed the complaint to be, based on what the AP reporter had told her.
Beginning by saying “I really don’t know where all this is coming from”, her statement explains that she worked for “multiple fashion companies” before working at Syren “including Forever 21
, one of the biggest fashion companies in the world”.
She adds: “I didn't learn latex construction at Syren, I interned with Tressa [Williams] at Fierce Couture for several months, along with tons of research I did on my own before ever even considering working there. Then there's the fact that even before all of this I spent two years and thousands of dollars attending FIDM to learn what I know about pattern making and design.”
The AP story soon made it onto fetish forums such as RubberPal and FetLife. Initially the responses there and the comments on her blog were largely of the view that this appeared to be a case of corporate muscle trying to crush individual enterprise, and that Stockroom was doing itself no favours by taking the action. A number of posters even called for a boycott of the company’s products.
Ironically, it was not widely known that Katy Perry’s latex came from Syren until Greydanus posted details and pictures of some of the outfits she had put together for Perry on her blog and on Facebook last summer.
The Fetishistas picked up one of these posts in early August and ran a piece headlined Who makes Katy Perry latex? which provided the detailed answer to the question that was on many lips at the time.
The story made it clear that Greydanus was working for Syren, as did a follow-up article, and our impression was that Abigail’s publicising of her work with Katy Perry had brought Syren recognition as the singer’s latex costumier that it would otherwise not have received. Which you might think it would be pleased about.
So we were quite surprised when on November 30 last year, we received a curt e-mail purporting to be from Syren (though it was unsigned, and not from a recognisable Syren or Stockroom address) stating:
Your article on Katy Perry’s latex incorrectly credits Abigail Greydanus as Katy Perry’s latex designer. The latex in question is by Syren Latex, Abigail Greydanus is merely an employee. Please correct this oversight as soon as possible. Thank you.
We still don’t know whose consummate press liaison skills were employed in drafting that missive. But the very next day, we heard that Stockroom/Syren had decided to dispense with Abigail’s services. If that were not a clear enough sign the company did not share our view of her as a valuable promoter of its latex brand, then last Thursday’s application for an injunction certainly was.
Since we published our original news story on Tuesday, there have been several important developments. First, Stockroom owner Joel Tucker went onto FetLife to respond to speculation about the case by posting a statement of his own, which gave the first insight into his company’s reasons for taking legal action.
Then Kumi posted substantial extracts from the (now publicly available) court papers on FetLife. These extracts made it clear that the original AP report had somewhat misrepresented the thrust of Stockroom’s claims against Greydanus, meaning that much of the earlier forum discussion had been based on false assumptions about its complaint.
In the interests of balance and clarity, therefore, we felt it appropriate to publish a companion piece to our original news story, which includes Joel Tucker’s statement. You can find that piece by clicking on the Webwatch link below.
STOP PRESS: Archean has now added a very readable overview of the case — including a detailed but easily digested summary of Stockroom’s court filing — on her Miss Rubber World blog (link below).