Sometimes I wonder if Urban Outfitters gets itself into legal trouble on purpose for the free advertising. I’ve always liked their clothes, and I admittedly shop there somewhat frequently, but with their history of stealing designs from independent artists and selling offensive t-shirts, it’s no surprise that they keep getting sued. Another small-scale artist has a beef with UO at the moment, and his story is making the rounds around Tumblr and Twitter. According to James Soares, who sells original art under the name Spires, the popular hipster store lifted one of his designs and made a skirt out of it. Blegh.
Soares has been passing around an image that compares his piece, tryypyzoyd, to the Urban Outfitters item, Bambam Geo Bodycon Skirt. He tells the Daily Dot,
I knew it was tryypyzoyd immediately because as you can see from the comparison, there was no attempt to alter the art in any way but to rotate it 180 degrees. The colors are all the same and the positions of the shapes are identical.
Uh, yep. This definitely wasn’t coincidental.
It really sucks that Soares has to deal with this, but at least there’s a bright side. For one thing, all this media coverage is drawing attention to his Society6 page, where fans of his designs can buy them from him. For another thing, it’s great to see Urban Outfitters being held accountable for their shady practices, and maybe this will be the incident that finally forces them to make amends for their past blunders.