Imitation is NOT the best form of Flattery, and here's why!
As a designer, it is very scary to put your work out there. Will people like what I do? Will they get what I'm about? Or the worst; Will my ideas be stolen?
Some of you may remember the issues we had earlier this year where a brand had copied, traced and produced counterfeit goods of our Moon Child Mantra. Our Moon Child Mantra was the first thing that we designed for our little brand; Moon Child encourages and embraces the magic of learning through nature, and our Mantra told the tale of the reasons behind the brand and set the tone of our whole brand.
For those who aren't familiar with this story; in December 2019 an ad popped up whilst we were scrolling through Instagram, and we noticed that a brand in The Netherlands were selling direct copies of our design.
We tried for weeks to contact this company via Email, Chats, and all of their social channels. It was clear that they weren't going to respond to us, and had no intention of sorting the issue. We gave them notice that we were going to expose them if they didn't remove the designs.
Still, we had no response and so we outed them on social media.
After her successful fight with a couple of big high street stores with a similar issue, the lovely Jo from Scamp and Dude put us in contact with her Lawyer, who very kindly helped us with the legal side of things. An official legal letter was sent, and the company in question agreed to remove the designs off their website and admitted to taking the design off Pinterest. The owner of the company told us that she was closing down the business and that SS20 would be their last collection, and because of this we agreed not to pursue with further legal action.
We are now in August, the company are not only advertising for their AW20 collection, but they are once again selling our designs, and advertising them. We have given the owner of the company 48 hours notice to remove the designs before we outed them again, however our emails have been ignored and unfortunately the designs have not been taken down and so we have had no other option but to expose them once again.
Coincidences and similarities in design work happen, and they can happen subconsciously. However there is a line, and directly copying a designer is wrong. And to knowingly do this twice, is a joke.
So here is my open letter to you Leonora at @mimpikidsclothes:
'Why do you morally think it is ok to start selling these items again? In your bio, your company claims to be 'unique and honest' but this is very far from the truth. May I remind you that this design is trademarked so you are breaking the law. This is theft. Sophie and I are two young designers who are trying to start up our dream of running a small business. We do not pay ourselves yet, and to see that you think it is acceptable to be making a profit out of our work is quite frankly, disgusting. Perhaps you don't have morals or any shame. As you once said to me 'think of your karma'. Do the right thing and remove the designs off your website'
For those that don't know, Mim-Pi are a Dutch company who stock in 400 stores worldwide so as you can imagine, they are a huge company compared to Soph and I. We work tirelessly day and night 364 days a year so that we can give our all for you guys. To have someone use our artwork and profit off it, is truly heart breaking.
Did you know that designers have to pay £50 to trademark each individual design that they have? And that IP theft isn't covered by the police? If someone steals and produces counterfeit copies of your designs, it is up to YOU as an individual to cough up for a lawyer, and cover the cost for legal proceedings. Legal battles are not only mentally draining and time consuming but they can also cost tens of thousands of pounds. Designers who are facing these battles either have to let the big brands get away with it, or face going bankrupt to fight the IP thieves. This is unjust, unfair, and it needs to stop.
If someone steals your car they would be facing prison time and a criminal record, so why is this not the same for Intellectual Property Thieves?
Big will always win against small, if the system stays the way it is. We need real change. We need protection against thieves.
Here at Moon Child, we have applied to start a government campaign to support small businesses and designers around IP Law; we believe that trademarking your design should be a right, not a privilege. We want trademarking fees abolished, and for some sort of policing to be put in place for IP theft.
Please sign the petition by clicking HERE to show your support.
Us creatives have to stick together. We cannot continue living in fear that our work will be copied and that big brands will get away with it. Let's spread awareness and share the hell out of the 'Authenticity' graphic 💛
Imitation is NOT the best form of flattery. Admiring and supporting the original is! Be original, and let your authenticity shine through.
P.S if you want to support the original design, our art prints can be purchased by clicking here!
Emma and Soph x
Our Original Artwork from 2015.
Mim-Pi's Counterfeit Copy from 2019.