It’s hard to walk into Anthropologie and not start drooling. The store is full of clothing, accessories and home decor perfectly tuned to the indie shopper’s tastes. Their prices are through the roof, but sometimes a little splurge is worth it. My question, however, isn’t the value of a splurge. What I want to know is this: is Anthropologie good for Indie at all?

The CEO’s politics aside, this daughter company to Urban Outfitters does not advertise and prides itself on offering unique and often handmade products. According to this article, the ‘chief product anthropologist’ scours the world looking for the next best thing. But “the ultimate find is not only a one-of-a-kind object that Anthropologie can sell in the store (found objects make up a small percentage of home sales, which comprise 35% of total sales), but also one that inspires a new in-house design.”

That’s right: inspires a new design. Many would say this amounts to ripping off indie designers.

The trouble is, it’s hard to know. Their website gives little away in terms of an item’s origin. Often, an item’s description will say ‘handmade in the United States’, or simply ‘USA’ or ‘Imported’. I want to know who made it. I want to know under what conditions.

In yesterday’s interview, Sarah said that within the next five years she hopes to see Indie designers selling their items through larger retail outlets (she mentioned Target–I asked them about this; see their response here). If this comes to pass (if it’s happening already!) I want to know about it. One of my biggest gripes with box stores is their lack of communication with customers, and Anthropologie is no different.

If you’re supporting Indie, make it clear. Otherwise, it feels a bit like mockery, even scam to dangle these earrings, bags and dresses in front of my eyes. Granted I’m not in the target market (of women age 30-40 earning $200,000 a year), but a little openness could go a long way in attracting new customers. Until then, I’m going back to Etsy.