Urban Outfitters Half-Admits It Was Selling a Plagiarized Skirt

Image via Tumblr.
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.

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."

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Is Urban Outfitters Stealing Work From Independent Designers AGAIN?

Oh, hi! Welcome to Urban Outfitters! We sell clothes made by people with twice our talent at four times the price!

Yet another independent designer is claiming Urban Outfitters has ripped off her work. A Tumblr user with the handle Glam-Trash posted screencaps of an Urban Outfitters shirt and a T-shirt design posted to Fresh Tops carrying a design she claims lifted from a book cover she created. (We are working on finding the original cover.) Urban Outfitters should know better than to rip off people with social media presences: The post has been reblogged nearly 50,000 times.

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The 'Hipster'-est Words in NPR's Definitive Piece About Hipsters

You know it's over when you're an NPR article. Or a costume.
Yesterday NPR posted an article called "The Hipsterification of America." We are momentarily lifting our ban on the word hipster to address it, because it is, indeed, something special, and should be publicly recognized. Never in the history of writing about hipsters have so many hipster terms, most particularly, the word hipster itself, been utilized! Herewith, all the words, in the order they appear, with repetitions included. Hipster, hipster, hipster. Hipster.

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Candles That Smell Like the McKibbin Lofts Can Be Had For a Mere $68

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Would you like a candle that smells like unwashed artists and bed bugs? Or one that smells like trash and vintage clothing stores? Or how about one that has a whiff of poppers and disco pants? All of these candles are now available at Oak, the intimidating clothing store on Bond Street with an amorphous wooden structure in the middle where this blogger once spilled a full vodka-cranberry all over the sales floor, panicked, and ran. The candles are named after certain places and times in New York, e.g. "McKibbin + Bogart '03." The cost of being transported back to St. Mark's in 1985 is almost $70.

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New York in the 1960s: Plenty of Hipsters, Fewer Starbucks

Lower East Side from Django's Ghost on Vimeo

Look at that fucking hipster! Wait...where are we? When are we? As this clip of the East Village in the '60s -- posted on Neighborhoodr via Handsome as Fuck and supplemented with music from the Velvet Underground -- demonstrates, nerdy black glasses, smoking, ironic headbands, skinny jeans, and an overall certain retro-vintage style was popular a long time ago, before there were assholes like us to dub it "retro-vintage." More »

American Apparel Selling 'Teenagers Do It Better' T-Shirt

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Hipster clothier American Apparel has a new product out. It's a t-shirt that says "Teenagers Do It Better." Made in conjunction with a teen magazine called Electric Youth!, the t-shirts boast a 100% cotton design and domestic manufacturing. And of course, they're reminding people of the fact that CEO Dov Charney has been accused of sexual harassment by a number of very young women.

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Urban Outfitters and Etsy Artists: Who's Stealing From Whom?

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via Regretsy
‚ÄčIt's well known by now
 that Urban Outfitters sometimes rips off designs from independent artists. Last summer, Foster Kamer noted that the hipster warehouse was stealing from Brooklyn designers; this week, Averie wrote about how the chain could be basing their state pendant necklaces on the design of artist Stevie Koerner. Here's the thing: Those state necklaces are all over Etsy. You've probably seen them, they're the ones in the shape of California or Texas or whatever with a little cut out heart. A post yesterday on Regretsy's blog takes issue with the idea that UO is the only bad guy here, given that there are a LOT of Etsy artists making the exact same thing. Who's stealing from whom? More »

Urban Outfitters, Still Stealing Designs From Local Artists

If Urban Outfitters executives aren't shaking in their boots yet, they should be. Because based on this, and this, they've been caught red-handed stealing from online fashion and jewelry designers. It will have been a year ago tomorrow that Foster Kamer called out the mega-hipster monolith for stealing from Brooklyn's own. Today, Chicago blogger/jewelry designer Stevie Koerner discovered the company had stolen her design for a line she called "United States of Love," calling it instead the "I Heart Destination" line. As Koerner herself commented, "Not cool, Urban Outfitters. Not cool."

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'Japanese Hipsters' Love the MTA's Hip-Hop Style

One man's abhorred commuting method is another man's most stylish possession, or something like that. So we shouldn't be surprised to learn that the MTA is a huge hit in Japan, particularly among "Japanese hipsters" who "wear subway logos as part of a trend 'somewhat similar to the hip-hop or punk fashion,'" according to Ket Matsuno, who teaches marketing at Babson. The New York Post reports that more than 20 percent of city transit merchandise sold in 2010 was purchased in Japan.

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Dov Charney Is Not Sweating 'Fraudulent' Sexual Abuse Claims, Bankruptcy: Q&A

Troubled clothing company American Apparel is all over the news again. This time, though, the situation seems dire. CEO Dov Charney, who we've spoken to in the past, is being sued for an enormous sum of money by five former employees alleging sexual abuse. Stop us if you've heard this one before (although this go-round is a bit more complicated than usual). Compounding his legal troubles, Charney's company is still on the rocks financially; rumors swirl that AA will have to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy sooner rather than later.

Charney agreed to speak with us about his latest adventures, both personal and professional. He refused to say anything on the record about his most recent sexual harassment suits, although we did speak to his lawyer Stuart Slotnick, who told us, "These women have fabricated claims. These claims are a result of their intention to try and cash out at the company's expense with no legitimate basis to do so." Slotnick also confirmed that Charney had indeed had a "consensual relationship" with plaintiff Kimbra Lo after she had left the company.

Charney, who admittedly is a master of spin and has a certain charisma, was open -- in his way -- about American Apparel's financial problems, his "many followers," and the travails of Pee Wee Herman.

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