Several fashion brands have been called out for ripping off independent artists’ works. You might’ve seen some examples on social media, especially accounts like Diet Prada. The latest in this frustrating saga involves Filipina artist Feanne and UK brand Rixo.
Yesterday, Feanne called out Rixo on her social media accounts for lifting elements from her past illustrations for their “Moonlit Sky” and “Oriental Sky” prints. “I first published this artwork on a licensing platform in October 2014. I have the original drawings on paper, as well as the original scanned file dated October 2014,” she explained on Facebook. “The linework is consistent with my illustration style. As an artist specializing in illustration, I have been publishing and exhibiting my work since 2006. I have been licensing out artwork since 2014, and creating my own fabric prints since 2015.”
In summary: UK fashion brand Rixo, which claims that all their prints are original handpainted designs by their…
Rixo—who neither asked for permission nor obtained licenses for Feanne’s work, has used the said prints since 2016. Moonlit Sky was recently re-released in 2017 and 2018 since it was an apparent best-seller. When Feanne’s lawyer contacted them for an explanation, their legal team claimed these were hand painted works by the founders Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey.
Their lawyer also accused Feanne of making “a vain attempt to piggy back of (sic) the huge success and trending leading fashion designs and prints that our client creates.” They also listed down all of Rixo’s accomplishments to emphasize their claim. Yiiiiiiiiiikes. It was already bad enough they called one of the designs “oriental,” which screams racial insensitivity. This just puts the cherry on top of the controversy.
Additionally, Feanne shared with us screenshots of Orlagh McCloskey’s sister, Gemma McCloskey commenting on her post and also sent her a direct message. “Pathetic attempt to claim three objects from a print that was composed and designed by the brand, not you!”
“I would like to make it clear that I don’t claim to own the idea or the style. And the sister is correct that Rixo owns the print layout composition. However, the drawings used in the layout do appear identical to mine,” Feanne tells Preen.ph.
As of writing, Rixo hasn’t responded to Feanne’s last demand letter, which was sent on Jan. 11. Since posting about it, Diet Prada also picked up on the controversy and also shared a DM from the brand when they were accusing Topshop of copying their designs. How the tables have turned.
When asked about what they’re doing about the pieces being sold in the retailers mentioned earlier, Feanne says they already contacted Net-a-Porter but the retailer has not responded. “I do plan to contact Rixo’s retailers and publishers because I believe they have a right to know, and I also have a right to publicly assert my claims as the original artist,” she says.
We will update this story as more details come up. But if you ask us, this is just another classic example of big brands taking advantage of artists, and not being accountable for their actions.
Photo courtesy of Feanne’s Instagram account
Screengrabs from Diet Prada’s Instagram Stories
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