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Jimmy Choo founder accuses former company of anti-competitive action

Jimmy Choo founder Tamara Mellon is accusing her former company of trying to hamper the growth of her new brand.

Mellon is alleging that Jimmy Choo has asked a small number of Italian leather suppliers to commit to not working with her new company, called Tamara Mellon Brand, which she formed in 2013.

Jimmy Choo confirmed it had received a letter from the law firm Olswang, which it is evaluating.

The letter alleges that Tamara Mellon Brand has been “unable to secure suitable production capacity for… luxury leather products and (its) business consequently has been impaired”.

It said the restrictions imposed by Jimmy Choo on two Florence-based Italian leather suppliers were in breach of EU anti-trust laws.

A spokesman for Jimmy Choo said: “Our initial assessment is that the complaint has no merit and will be vigorously contested. We plan to make no further comment until the process is completed.”

Jimmy Choo was founded by the eponymous East London-based cobbler and Mellon in 1996 with a £150,000 loan.

Mellon left the luxury footwear label in November 2011, six months after the brand was sold to the luxury firm Labelux Group in a deal valued at £549m.

She told the Sunday Times in 2012: “[I left the label because] I didn’t like the equity plan that had been put in place.

“The management team were asked to invest their own money in the business and hold their shares for seven years, which would then be subject to income tax and not come under capital gains. I felt it was unfair.”

Tamara Mellon Brand and Olswang have not yet responded to Drapers’ request for comment.

@Tara_Hounslea

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