Positive message turns sour after artist accuses H&M of copying her design
We were scanning our Twitter feed this morning when this apology tweet from H&M caught our eye:We’re very sorry about our CS team’s answer, it’s unfortunate and we apologize for it. We’re in direct contact with Tori LaConsay.
Lee Hyori going to meet Jane Goodall
Who the hell is Tori LaConsay?, we wondered. Turns out, she is a 32-year-old Birmingham-based illustrator and designer who probably just got her work ripped off by the Swedish company.
The scandal, this way>>
Back in 2008, she painted the sign above “as a love letter” to her then neighborhood in Atlanta. It was located on the main road in town, painted on one side with “You Look Nice Today” followed by a little heart. The other side of the sign said “I’m So Happy You’re Here” with another heart—the idea being that people would see the first message on their way to work, and the second message on their way home. “It was a small gesture that I genuinely hoped would make my neighbors feel good,” Tori LaConsay said in an email to Regretsy.com. (Side note: Toni LaConsay, if you’d like to move to Brooklyn and cheer us all up everyday, you will be very welcome here.)
Anyway, somehow a graphic looking pretty much exactly like Tori LaConsay’s sign ended up on H&M products. Which, while regrettable, could probably have been pretty easily cleared up with an apology, a credit, and appropriate compensation. What’s actually outrageous here is the customer service department’s response to Tori LaConsay’s email about the situation. According to her, an email to H&M received the following response:
We employ an independent team of over 100 designers. We can assure you that this design has not been influenced by your work and that no copyright has been infringed.
An initial response to Ms Tori LaConsay’s claim, made by the Swedish label on its Facebook page, denied foul play, but in an effort to quell growing outrage H&M today tweeted an apology assuring they were in direct contact with the artist to resolve the matter.Ms Tori LaConsay initally painted the sign in 2008 as a positive affirmation residents of the area could take with them on their way to work.
Positive to negative: Customer service at H&M wrote a curt, unapologetic reply to an email claiming foul play
Product range: The H&M homewares line included this tea towel, as well as pillowcases and a doormat On the reverse, an alternative message read: ‘I’m So Happy You’re Here’ in an effort to make passers-by feel just as appreciated on their way home.Describing it as a ‘love letter’, she told Regretsy.com: ‘The sign was located on the main thoroughfare on Flat Shoals Avenue.’It was a small gesture that I genuinely hoped would make my neighbors feel good.’On discovering the likeness between the H&M products and her sign, a friend of Ms Tori LaConsay made contact with H&M customer service.They wrote: ‘Your “You Look Nice Today” rug and pillow design has been stolen from an artist based in the US named Tori LaConsay.
‘Shame on you for hiring such lazy designers! Tori deserves to be compensated! Until there is something done, I will no longer be shopping with H&M.’The reply the following day was brief and unapologetic: ‘Thank you for your email regarding our “You Look Nice Today” items. We are sorry to hear that you will no longer be shopping with us.’
Comments on the H&M Facebook page came flooding in by the hundreds as consumers and critics caught wind of the alleged infringement.
This morning, a representative for H&M wrote on the page: ‘We’re very sorry about our CS team’s answer, it’s unfortunate and we apologize for it. We’re in direct contact with Tori LaConsay.’Since Ms Tori LaConsay’s complaint came to light, the ‘You Look Nice Today’ items have been removed from sale on the H&M UK website.