The “Say Yes to the Dress” bridal designer, Hayley Page, who is enjoined from using her own name by demand of JLM Couture fired back Tuesday, in a blistering court filing filled with hundreds of prior Instagram posts and messages that undermine JLM’s claims. In fact, the filings show that JLM, having been rebuffed in its efforts to extend the scope of their control of the designer in a new agreement, decided to file an emergency motion to simply take what they wanted instead. The matter will be heard in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on January 29th.
Some key facts include:
- The designer started using her name and the URL “handle” associated with the accounts in 2004 when she was a student at Cornell—seven years before starting work at JLM Couture. That URL, also the handle of the Instagram account in dispute, was a term of endearment that the designer’s mother bestowed on her.
- Contrary to JLM’s claims, the accounts that JLM seeks ownership of are personal and feature pictures of her parents, fiancé, and dog, and her deeply personal thoughts and experiences. As the hundreds of examples show, JLM’s sworn claim that that account was “wedding gowns all the time” is demonstrably false.
- When JLM took over the account by court order and began deceptively posting without notifying her followers, her followers noticed the abrupt change of content and tone and posted thousands of messages criticizing JLM. In response to their public expressions, JLM simply turned off comments on all posts, damaging the account’s value and relationship with its 1.1 million followers.
- The designer’s agreement with JLM contains no mention or provisions regarding her social media accounts. In fact, JLM has always known the Instagram account was her personal account, and the filing contains several emails from JLM employees noting this. Several former JLM employees have filed sworn affidavits confirming that it was always known that the designer owned her Instagram account.
As the designer grew in popularity, JLM attempted to secure more and more control over her business endeavors outside of her bridal work. This led to the breakdown of negotiations for a new agreement. With regards to use of her name, the filing includes an email from JLM CEO Joseph Murphy in which he says, “As far as [your] personal investment (regarding JLM) it really is only related to Hayley Paige wedding gowns and related categories,” and “…rest assured, I do not claim access to your persona beyond what I describe above.” JLM’s temporary restraining order, by contrast, demanded her social media accounts and exclusive use of her name for all businesses for all time.
The designer said, “I have always taken my contractual obligations seriously, and lived up to every one of them, but for JLM that was not enough. Today’s response is my first opportunity to describe to the Court the misrepresentations and false claims that JLM Couture made in their emergency filing. I believe that upon review of all of the facts, justice will be done.”