Rihanna asks Topshop for free clothes AFTER she filed lawsuit against company

Rihanna's stylists continued to ask Topshop for clothes for the star despite the fact she is suing the retailer, a court heard today.

The singer claims the printed sleeveless white top - which hit the rails in Topshop last year - may have tarnished her reputation by leading her fans to believe the garment was 'genuine' Rihanna-approved merchandise.

But the retailer's lawyers today said that - while the singer is claiming the top blighted her image - it has not stopped her entourage contacting Topshop to ask for clothes for Rihanna half a dozen times since the lawsuit was launched.

A barrister at London's High Court today claimed Rihanna's representatives had asked Topshop for products for the singer on '10 recent occasions', and said her 'shopping habits' were testament to the retailer's own considerable reputation.

Of those 10 occasions, six came after Rihanna launched proceedings against Topshop, said Geoffrey Hobbs QC.

Mr Hobbs said: 'It is not in dispute that Rihanna is a celebrity (but) the reputation of Topshop is also material to the allegation of misrepresentation.

'Rihanna's own shopping habits provide compelling evidence of Topshop's reputation in fashion wear. (There are) 10 recent occasions on which her representatives have contacted Topshop asking for products for her to wear.

'We note that six of these requests post-date this dispute,' the barrister said.

.The T-shirt in question is printed with a snap of the star wearing a bra top, which she says was 'very similar' to images used on one of her album covers.

She claims sales of the shirt amounted to 'passing off' and may have led to her reputation being tarnished with her fans, had they bought the garment thinking it was 'genuine' endorsed merchandise with 'an emotional connection to their heroine'.

Lawyers for Topshop maintain the retailer did nothing wrong, and accuse the pop star of making an unjustifiable bid to establish a 'free standing image right' over use of her picture in the UK.

Mr Justice Birss, sitting at London's High Court, heard that Topshop bought a licence to use the image on the T-shirt from the photographer who took it, during the video shoot for Rihanna's single We Found Love which was filmed in Belfast and Bangor, Northern Ireland, in November 2011.

However the 25-year-old singer protested that they had short changed her and her fans when the T-shirt went on sale.

The judge was shown the controversial tank-top T-shirt, showing the singer in a pale bra top with her hair in an up-do, as part of a 'wall of T-shirts' displayed to the court on coat hangers in evidence today.

Martin Howe QC, for Rihanna, who is suing Topshop's owners, Arcadia Brands Limited under her real name, Robyn Rihanna Fenty, told the court: 'Rihanna is one of the world's most famous musical performing artists. She needs little introduction.

'Like most well known contemporary performing artists, she engages in merchandising, and like most such performing artists, it represents a significant part of her revenue stream.

'In 2012, Topshop sold a T-shirt displaying a clearly recognisable image of Rihanna taken when she was on a video shoot. She was wearing her makeup and hairdo for the video shoot, and very similar images of her appeared on her CD inlay (for the album Talk that Talk.)

'The sales...gave rise to a likelihood of deception, damaging Rihanna's goodwill.

'A substantial number of people buying, or even seeing, those T-shirts would think they are approved or somehow connected with Rihanna, when, in fact, they were not approved of or connected with her at all.

'This will be particularly so amongst the group of most likely purchasers of those T-shirts, namely fans of Rihanna.

'We are saying that one of the qualities of the T-shirt is the mere fact of whether it has been endorsed or not, and is a genuine object, emanating from the source of the fans' affection.

'It is not so much a concern about the quality of the item, but it not having the emotional attachment to the heroine and (for fans) the desire to own the actual item issued by their heroine.

'Rihanna's case is not about stopping the sale of all images of her on T-shirts in the UK, nor is it about trying to create a free standing so-called image right in the UK. Passing off is a question of fact in each case.

'Topshop accepts that Rihanna has generated goodwill as a musical performing artist. It denies that she has any goodwill in any other area.

'Rihanna's case is that she has generated reputation and goodwill beyond that as a musical performing artist (which) extends into the fashion and clothing industries and has done so for years.

'She has collaborated in the design of clothes with a range of clothing designers at the high end of fashion, including Giorgio Armani and Gucci, and at established high street fashion stores, including River Island.

The hearing, set to last until next week, continues.

Said top.