Don’t think you can rip people off in the blogging generation and get away with it. When a graffiti artist named Tori LaConsay discovered that her graffiti design on an unused billboard had been reproduced by H&M, she immediately contacted the company, only to get a standard reply, saying, “We employ an independent team of over 100 designers. We can assure you that this design has not been influenced by your work and that no copyright has been infringed.” When the public got wind and subsequently pounced on H&M’s facebook page with angry comments, they decided to issue a lengthier apology:
We apologies [sic] if anyone should think we have copied, which has never been our intention and also not allowed. We have merely been inspired, after seeing many different varieties with different text messages, to create something similar in a different font, with the use of big and small brackets and the placement of the shaped heart. We are truly sorry if we have led someone to believe that we intentionally should have copied someone else’s creation.
Since the above quote is what I like to call a “non-apology-apology” it’s no surprise that it only fanned the flames. The debacle forced H&M to take it seriously, and they are now doing some serious damage control. Most intellectual property cases in fashion get dismissed because there’s often no way to prove that an item was copied. Perhaps both designers think alike? But this case is different. H&M copied words, handwriting, and even that adorable little heart. Hopefully this will set a precedent for large corporations taking advantage of the little guy. They should have just apologized and paid her for the design.