So, some sad news. This time, it involves a supporter, fellow artist but most importantly a friend. Kati runs an etsy shop named Twamies where she sells tons of awesome hand designed and hand made stuff that runs the gamut from purses and prints to patterns and paintings.
Recently, moral voids over at Tilly’s appropriated one of her designs (which she’s been selling since 2011!!) and started selling shirts as you can see in the above image. Kati and friends, saturated their posts with comments about how this was a stolen and repurposed design, to no response. It eventually took a while, but their reaction was that of Prince Prospero shrugging off a peasant revolt. They took the shirt down from their website but never offered an apology. They eventually claimed that a third party vendor made the shirt and sold it to them, but it’s obvious, if you do a bit of digging, that they own the third party vendor! ALSO, the shirts are still available in stores! No real action has been taken. Tilly’s is content to let an independent artist bang her head against a wall while they continue to make a bunch of money off her work.
Even if this issue does eventually get resolved, the business model is the problem. Big online companies like Tilly’s and Urban Outfitters do this all the time. They steal work, “alter” it to try and dodge liability claims, then cash in until the artist notices and even then there’s not much an artist can do. However, I’m sure if anyone out there started making Tilly’s shirts they’d slap you with a lawsuit in a heartbeat. Their ethics are horrendous, so don’t support them. In any way. Luckily, there’s enough genitalia in my work that I only have to worry about a lone human garbage pit from Estonia, but most other artists aren’t as lucky.
So, please, go to Kati’s store, buy some stuff, and by all means boycott Tilly’s. Also, feel free to go to their customer service page and ask them why they feel comfortable stealing work from independent artists.