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In The Style founder wins court case against a claim his business idea was not his own

Lauretta Roberts
16 February 2023

In The Style founder Adam Frisby has won a court case against Paul Clements, who claimed that the name and the concept for the influencer-led fashion business was his idea.

Judge Mark Cawson ruled that the narrative advanced by Clements was a “false one” and concluded it “likely” that In The Style’s stock-market flotation in 2021 “formed the motivation” for Clements asserting a claim against Adam Frisby.

The ruling came after a five-day trial in the High Court in Manchester during which Clements had alleged, in a claim launched in 2021, that he conceived the original idea for the company in 2013 and engaged Frisby to assist with developing In The Style shortly after.

The business floated in 2021 and Clements asserted that Frisby should account to him for what was realised upon the floatation; and put that figure at £125 million.

In his ruling Judge Cawson dismissed the claims that Clements had played a part in conceiving the business saying: "I have come to the firm view that the narrative advanced by Mr Frisby is the true narrative, and that the narrative advanced by Mr Clements is a false one…. On this basis, I conclude by finding that the claim as advanced by Mr Clements should be dismissed.”

In The Style

Adam Frisby with singer and TV personality Stacey Solomon, who has collaborated with In The Style.

Frisby said the ruling brought to a close what had been "the most difficult and unimaginable few months of my life".

"I am so pleased and relieved that today the judge and the high court have rightly ruled in my favour. The judgement confirmed I have told the entire truth and the claimant was lying in every aspect of the claim.

“Although I never doubted these fraudulent claims would be dismissed entirely, I cannot begin to tell you how gut-wrenching this process has been over the last 18 months. To know that someone has been trying to deceitfully undermine the story behind In The Style - one that I am so incredibly proud of - has been really hard to cope with.

“I have worked tirelessly over the last 10 years alongside the ITS team, our influencer partners, and our customers, whose fantastic support has helped to make In the Style the incredible brand it is today. Whilst it hurts that someone tried to take away from this story with a bare faced lie, I am so thankful this nightmare is now over."

TLT advised Adam Frisby and instructed leading counsel, Giles Maynard-Connor KC and junior, Stephen Connolly, of Exchange Chambers, Manchester.

Julien Luke, partner at TLT commented: “I am delighted with the judgment and this victory for Adam. His is a real success story; having started the business of In The Style in his bedroom and then working tirelessly to develop and grow it such that the business floated in 2021. The judgment vindicates Adam and his stance that he would not be intimidated into making payment in the face of this false claim. I am proud to have led the TLT team in order to achieve this fantastic result for our client.”

In response to the judgement Paul Clements said: “I am extremely disappointed by the judgement, having spent two years litigating; incurred a substantial six-figure sum on legal fees and presented clear evidence to the court of my role in developing the concept for In The Style.

"The judge accepted that Adam Frisby was sent a copy of Jessica Devine’s witness statement to ensure their accounts were consistent, concealing this from his solicitor and the court, and that the pair consistently exchanged WhatsApp messages to ensure their recollections tallied. I find it surprising that he concluded this was naivete, rather than an attempt to mislead the court.

"I will now consider my options and whether to appeal the judgement”.

In The Style operates a unique business model in which it collaborates with a range of influencers and celebrities to create capsule collections and shares the financial proceeds with the co-creators to ensure they are invested in its success.

The business was listed in 2021 but it has since launched a strategic review which might lead to a sale or an alternative ownership structure.

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