Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.
News from Los Angeles, where an artist has accused clothing giant Old Navy of copyright infringement. Illustrator and artist Lili Chin claims that the high street clothes horse has plagiarised some of her designs for a set of pyjamas it is selling through stores in the US, and has dismissed her appeals for compensation. Chin says that she contacted Old Navy as soon as the PJs made their debut last autumn. But the company denied any copyright infringement and its lawyers are flexing their muscles to counteract claims to the contrary.
‘They are being totally unapologetic, and have said that it would be a “bad business decision” for me to expect to be reasonably compensated for the use of my art’, Chin writes on her blog. ‘Instead of compensating me, they have chosen to pay a large law firm to fight me, and have even asked the judge to order me to pay THEIR legal fees.’
Chin’s plight has attracted some high profile support, with Neil Gaiman wading into the debate with some frank advice for the company:
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) April 25, 2018
This is not the first time Old Navy has attracted the ire of the art world. In 2015, the retailer unveiled a new line of T-shirts that appeared to suggest that art was irrelevant. The design featured the phrase ‘young aspiring artist’, with the last word crossed out and replaced by other, supposedly worthier professions.
— Jermaine @WICOMICON🏳️🌈 (@jermainedesign) December 30, 2015
The company subsequently withdrew the line – but not before one enterprising artist volunteered to fix it for them…
— Steve Ogden (@SteveOgdenArt) December 30, 2015