Intellectual Copycat?

After reading about yet another case of stolen identity on the wonderful Le Blog de Betty, I started to realise that this was an issue I was interested about. Actually, not just interested. More like infuriated.

If you weren't already aware, over the past few years there has been a surge in intellectual property thefts- from independent illustrators on Etsy having their work pilfered by ad agencies, to jewellery designers having their work copied by huge high street chains.

On thinking, this would have been an improbable and most likely impossible task pre-Generation Z (ie. Kids of the Interwebz). The full and unfettered access available to artist's online portfolios, blog photographs, web layouts/designs and simply, peoples creative streaks seems to be being wholly exploited by the design teams and agencies supplying to some of the largest corporations. We are talking about some of our favourite shops here- Urban Outfitters, ASOS and Zara are just a few that have been discovered thanks to observant shoppers and fans of the original artists/sellers.

I've put together some of the best (well, the worst) examples of this and I want to know what you think.

First up, Zara, serial-copier and often ridiculously brazen:

Example 1.
The original photo from Le Blog de Betty-

The somewhat hideously butchered tee from Zara-

Example 2.
Takenaka from deviantART recently discovered more of her work was being used for various Zara t-shirts. The originals-

The Zara copies:

Next up, another store (not currently in Britain) who seem to have a lazy design department is Hot Topic.

Here's the fantastic original piece by independent artist Lora at Elastika-

And here's the blatant rip-off by HT-

Topshop also haven't escaped the eagle-eyed browser: Made By White quite famously named and shamed Topshop for carbon-copying their Little Red Riding Hood brooch duo-

And of course, my favourite but now sadly defunct Lady Luck Rules OK also had it's fair share of cunning admirers.
Check out the original Russian Doll necklace (one of which I actually own!) next to the shabby ring version by ASOS-

So, is this laziness? Laziness on the side of the retailer who should be checking the sources and origins of their designers proposals? Or like Paperchase tried to purport, does the full responsibility lie with the individual designers who are, in some cases, literally tracing original illustrations?

When I first started reading about this phenomenon, I wondered why the original artists in question weren't flattered by the incidents and happy to have their work recognised by such huge companies. But this is the problem. They are not being recognised. There are no please's or thank you's. No foot notes with names they are attributed to. There are no polite emails or conventional niceties obliged by the companies involved. They simply take and don't look back. Legal costs are so ridiculous (Eloise from Hide 'n' Seek was quoted $40,000 for court expenses!) that for most stand-alone artists, legal action is impossible. Of course, all of those huge multi-million brands know this and will carry on exploiting this method of determining popular online trends and mass-marketing them forever more.

What do you think? Totally inexcusable? Should the companies cashing in on the copycats be liable? Or do you think the artists should take steps to securing their work to ensure it's more difficult to duplicate?

I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts and any other examples you've heard about!

A Postal Delight.

The hugely talented Katie over at What Katie Does recently joined up with the ultra-kitsch gift boutique Maiden to hold a competition to win a treasure trove of selected goodies worth £50... and guess who won!

Included in the package was the Lucky Cat, above. I've been after the perfect China Town cat for a while and who doesn't need a little more luck in their life, right?

This Weather House is also mega cute and goes perfectly with my Swiss cuckoo clock! I wouldn't mind some help trying to predict this ridiculous British weather sometimes!

A Postcarden is a small postcard-sized box that folds out to reveal a city landscape. When you plant the seeds and add some water, if all goes to plan, it should emerge like the below...

How perfect for us often garden-less Londoners! I may just have to gift this and send it to someone. It seems a shame to keep it for myself and never write an address on the front!

And my favourite item in the goody bag- one of which I have genuinely been wanting for about a year- a Sun Jar! You simply place it on a windowsill in direct sunlight during the day and the little solar panel inside gobbles up the light and converts it to energy which means at night time you get this...

It's perfect for bedtime reading, summer BBQ's, camping and all sorts! I want lots of them now to decorate my flat!

So once again, thank you to What Katie Does and Maiden for the brilliant prizes!

Maiden are based in Shoreditch, East London and stock some amazing goodies, check them out on Twitter here.

These are just a couple of the other things on their site that I'm currently lusting after-

Cinderella Theatre- £12

Fast, Cheap & Out of Control tea towel- £10

Go check them out if you're after cute novelties and practical gift ideas!

Holiday Snaps & a thank you

How naive I was to think that I could organise a post as soon as I returned from holiday!

Only gone for one week and yet there were clothes to wash, post to open, messages to return and friends to see. I am slightly overwhelmed by the amount of emails and posts I need to catch up on but excited and eager to see all of your wonderful posts while I've been absent.

These are just a select few of my photos from my break in Malta. It was ultimately a very quiet, uneventful holiday but honestly the remedy I needed. Most days I read my books, sat by the pool and drank Caipirinha's.

The towns were scattered with catholic adornments, sculpted metal roses and sunbursts, Virgin Mary busts and a handful of different Saints on plaques to bless the houses.

It all reminded me of Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet and the churches covered with hundreds of electric bulbs to light them to the heavens were straight from a film set.

Our beautiful rooftop pool where I spent long hours in the sun reading The Girl Who Played With Fire. Has anyone else read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo books? I adore them. Lisbeth Salander is such a great tough girl character with brains and the story's have me hooked!

So much old 1960's signage, a remnant of the British Colony.

A yummy apple pie that seemed to be the traditional seasonal pudding, with cinnamon and raisins and very hearty sprinkling of icing sugar.

A beautiful painting in the Casa Rocca Piccola, a palace with so many treasures and ephemera it nearly fulfilled my dream house criteria. We given a tour by the Marquis de Piro, who gave us anecdotes about the upper classes and the family history and also presented a beautiful collection of dresses and costume from the 1700's to present.

In the AX Paris maxi dress from New Look that my mum bought me as a gift before we left the UK. It was a staple piece in the heat and was easily transformed for dinner and drinks. I think I wore this dress about 4 times on holiday and it was only £27!

I also naively thought I could have organised the giveaway a day after I returned which evidently hasn't happened. I do have something cute lined up though, so thank you for sticking around while I make excuses.

Also- let's call it a thought of the day- you are all so, so amazing. Every time I get a new comment or a new follower my heart flutters a little bit. Thank you for reading what I have to say.

Thank you for letting me be myself and writing about what I love and am passionate about, no matter how random that sometimes might be, and thank you for agreeing or disagreeing, for saying anything and for being involved.

A scheduled thrift.

Vintage Bambi beaded knitting bag. £8 via ThriftstoreUK

A sad, thread-bare jute nautical tote. 20p, Jumble Sale.

So hard to get a good photo of, but this bag is gorgeous. The material is like a faded watercolour, with a faint floral print and faux tortoiseshell handle. 50p, car boot sale.

A couple of beautifully bound books, including my favourite Angela Carter. Free.

Somewhat aptly, I also picked this book up by India Knight. I've only read a few pages so far but it seems an interesting read, slightly marred by the fact that I have heard of most of the tips and tricks already. Has anyone else read this book? What did you think?

And another teacup to add to my collection. A tiny gem of a cup & saucer with royal blue floral print, 50p from a car boot sale.

I'm in Malta at the minute so this post has been lovingly scheduled. I'll be back on Saturday to catch up on all your blogs and all the posts I would have missed. The long delayed giveaway will also be up and running from Sunday, with some little gifts from my travels.

Hope you are all having a great week!

A book of time

This is a story of vintage annuals for good boys & girls and illustrations that make me wish I was ten years old again.

Of brightly coloured rocking-horses and wooden elephants and toys with wheels.

Toys of the world, dolls from Russia and bunnies in hutches.

The oddest named stories written by women with pretty perfect fifties names.

Little boys riding push-bikes and illustrations I want to pull out and frame.

My favourite, The Little Girl Who Cried, by Ms. Famous Five. The woman whose books I grew up on- The Magic Faraway Tree & The Wishing Chair, with mini-ovens for fairies and outrageously outdated notions.

I could spend all of my money on vintage picture books. Store them away until the day I have someone to read them to and keep them forever.