Hello, and welcome to Urban Outfitters Cannot Stop Stealing From Independent Artists, part infinity. Over the past four years, we've brought you periodic stories about the Philly-based hipster monolith selling designs plagiarized from other artists, something the company has done again and again and again and again. But this latest episode looks just a little bit different, in that Urban has actually admitted, sort of, that there's a problem.
Image via Tumblr.
Earlier this year, Urban began selling the skirt you see above, by Australian clothing designer bambam cloth. The design appears to have been lifted wholesale from a 2012 piece called "tryypyzoyd" by Massachusetts-based artist James Soares. He works under the name Spires and sells on Society6, an online artist's marketplace. He learned there was a problem after a Society6 user named Chelsea Birnell left a comment on "tryypyzoyd" earlier this month: "I just wanted to let you know... I think you've been ripped off," she told him, along with a link to Urban Outfitters, where the "bambam geo bodycon skirt" was selling for $59.
Soares didn't see Birnell's comment for nearly two weeks. When he finally saw it, and followed the link to the UO listing, he was very unhappy.
"I knew it was tryypyzoyd immediately because as you can see from the comparison, there was no attempt made to alter the art in any way but to rotate it 180 degrees," he tells the Voice. "The colors are all the same and the positions of the shapes are identical."