Saturday 28 January 2012

You Look Nice Today

This is a sign created by a US artist called Tori LaConsay in and for her local neighbourhood. The reason I know about it is because I was sent an email from another blogger who wanted to get the word out about what happened to this artist. So, this last week I have been following this drama with dismay and interest.

The original sign beside H&M's copied goods

It happens that the major store H&M designed several items almost identical ( I would say identical) to her design and claimed the design as their own. Then branded a doormat and towel set with the design.

Tori LaConsay contacted H&M directly. Their response?

"We employ an independant team over over 100 designers. We can assure you that this design has not been influenced by your work and that no copyright has been infringed"

So then ordinary people began contacting H&M with their concerns.

Word quickly spread and in response to literally over a thousand comments, H&M responded as below:

"..we have merely been inspired.."

As it stands now, I have heard no more updates concerning how H&M will be compensating Tori LaConsay, hopefully there will be further progress on this during the next week or so.

For the record, these shots have been provided to me - I didnt go out and source them. I did, however, visit H&M's Facebook page to verify the above was actually occuring...and yes it is all unfortunatly too true.

What has been really interesting to me, is the flagrant abuse of someone's copyright. Do people understand what copyright means? How could a designer for a major brand like H&M think it was possible to get away with this? How many other designs are stolen...and get onto the maket without recognition to the real artists work?

Unfortunately, if thousands of people had not left comments on H&M's Facebook this would never have been (on it's way to being) rectified. I say unfortunately because it's a real problem when it takes this kind of effort to have existing Copyright laws observed. It shouldnt be like this.

Are we living in a culture where other people's work is simply up for grabs? A few tweaks (or not, as the case may be!) and it's a 'new' piece?

As fellow bloggers, I'd love to know what you think?


  1. Seriously??? How, exactly can omitting a period and enlarging the heart make someone think they haven't copied this??? Appalling!!!

  2. It's all true. I looked in to starting a small, internet-based t-shirt company a few years ago and every person in the industry that I talked to said that the overseas importers (Japan & China) could have bootlegs produced in the tens of thousands before I even turned on the lights... Sad but true.

  3. Stealing is nothing new but it is still so sad that anyone feels it is ok to steal other's ideas and creativity.

  4. yes this is a fact of life. AND H&M should take it SERIOUSLY and pay the artist. Schools are nailing plagarism daily. MUCH more than when I was in school. My kids totally GET it but clearly some people have missed the message. Thank you for posting this. It is imperative that people report this or otherwise people that make bad decisions are not held accountable. I am reminded when my kids were small and coke came out with 'vanilla' coke and 'cherry' coke. I 'homemade' them at home. The kids were amazed. I told them it was just somebody that 'stole' the recipe and pretended they came up with something new.

  5. There is actually a website called and it is heartbreaking for a designer to realise how many times this sort of thing happens. Therese

  6. I shared it one my FB page, strangely no one else had posted it before. So that's a few more thousand people who know about this.

  7. Firstly can I say that I agree that this is blatant laziness by H&M designers and an abuse of someone else's originality. But in the environment that the artist has decided to create her piece; is it not expected that it becomes much more vulnerable to copycats?

    Being as pragmatic as possible, it may have just been the case that designer's (however lazy they may be) have mistaken this for a piece of high-quality graffiti. I'm sure millions of people posted an image on the sign giving no credit to the artist. How could they? Then again they could have seen in on the artist's website.

    It's not like this piece is in an art gallery with a plaque underneath it.

    I'm in no doubt that the piece belongs to LaConsay and also that H&M should give her due credit and compensation once this had been establish. My point is that I very much doubt they set out to 'rip her off' in the first place.

    If you decide to create your work in such a public forum, anonymously, with literally global access to it online, you must accept these situations can occur. British Artist Banksy has this happen to him all the time. But, because of the nature of his art, and the way in which he protects his privacy, he must accept that some of his more iconic pieces are capitalised on by, for example, the fashion industry.

  8. Oh dear, it seems like an open and shut case of theft. Of course the artist should be compensated. Thank goodness for the internet which allows such copyright breaches to come to light more easily that they might have once upon a time. Theft like this has always gone on but now it seems both easier to commit and easier to discover. Hoping for a satisfying andn just outcome for Tori LaConsay.

  9. I am certain that copying happens more often than we think, with the popularity of social media, however, copying and profiting from it by a company such as H&M is alarming. I wonder how often this happens and the original artist never know? you have got me thinking... how I would feel if one of my wholecloth designs was marketed without my knowledge or permission.... NOT happy!

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Esther.

  10. Interesting article. I've reblogged it.


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