When Fashion Rips off Art, Does the Fashion World Care?

The Jeremy Scott autumn/winter 2013 collection carried a decidedly different tone than most of the other collections shown at fashion week: youthful, nostalgic throwbacks to the childhoods of his likely customers. However, art-savvy viewers of his fashion line took Jeremy Scott to task regarding his “re-appropriation” of images originally created by skateboard artist Jimbo Phillips. When artists copy one another, this can be seen as a sort of flattery or homage, on the one hand, or a blatant rip and grab for attention on the other.

The art and pop culture worlds have been buzzing about Jeremy Scott v. Jimbo Phillips, while the fashion world has been notably silent regarding the potential controversy. What is the line between inspiration and plagiarism? This is a similar problem when “samples” of very popular songs from the past are reused and appropriated in “new music.” How much of the new song is a hit because of its original presentation, and how much is a hit because of the nostalgic memories of the original work? When is imitation flattery, and when is it just plain wrong? Worse, why should Jeremy Scott benefit from the creative efforts of Jimbo Phillips? This is an aesthetic, ethical, and philosophical question of creative integrity. Fashion industry, where do you draw your line? Fashion lovers, fashion insiders, what is your take? 

Symposium by Jessica Nickel for A Hit of Sarah
Photo via Hypebeast


  1. I can definitely see the connection between art and fashion.. I mean art IS fashion right? And thats what I love about it. You can be as creative as you want! :)


  2. With music making there is a rule dictating how many seconds of song you can use/sample before you have to obtain royalty rights from the record company--this protects both the artist who created the original track as well as artist who wish to use or reference music that proceeded them. I think the same should go for fashion and art. As an artist, I would be okay if someone drew inspiration from my designs--e.i. created their own patterns after viewing my artwork. I would also be alright with the use of my work in fashion if the fashion house contacted me and compensated me for the use of my designs. However, the problem with the Jeremy Scott case is that he did not change the original image very much from its original design, nor did he credit the artist from which he took the artwork from for his clothing line--and that is essentially stealing someone's intellectual property, in my opinion.