Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but Rosa Pomar isn’t smiling about the recent unauthorized, alleged copying of her dolls by Oilily. Rosa, a children’s clothing and accessories designer living in Portugal, came across a doll that bore an uncanny resemblance to one she created and has been marketing online since 2004. Rosa’s bonecos (dolls) are beautifully hand-detailed soft toys made from fabrics bursting with color, and bearing what she thought were trademark details such as daisy eyes and a stitched harelip smile.
Many have taken note of Rosa’s craft. Not only has she been selling her creations internationally, the dolls have been featured in various publications (such as Mondofragile’s book Mascotte2!, dpi magazine and le cool magazine). But little did Rosa know that this attention would lead her to a confrontation with the Dutch fashion house Oilily. Known for their women’s clothing line, Rosa was shocked to find that Oilily’s S/S 2009 line for babies carried a doll indistinguishable from her own. “I was always an admirer of Oilily’s style,” says Rosa. “And still can’t believe they’re doing this. Apart from the doll, they are using my design on the set’s package, doll’s tag and the fabric used for the babies clothes.”
In the Oilily S/S Summer of Love 2009 press release for their baby line, which gushes, “…innocent mood of the early 60’s… artisan designs and sensational prints,” one can find a photo that shows the use of imagery very similar to Rosa’s. Currently, the link to the press release for their ‘Girl’s’ line, which features the alleged imitation, is broken and our attempts to garner a response from Oilily went unanswered… so have a look at the images above or here in order to judge for yourself.
Interestingly, in response to a post on DaddyTypes, a commentator ‘Jill’ (who links her name to Oilily World) asks, “Is it possible Rosa Pomar’s bunnies are a blatant rip-off of Oilily’s ‘Bobbin Bunny‘ character?” To this Rosa responds, “The only similarity between that bunny and my doll are the flower shaped eyes, and for these, Oilily certainly can not take credit. Dolls with flower shaped eyes have been around since at least the seventies… I am not accusing Oilily of stealing one feature of my dolls. I accuse them of copying the entire design.” With regard to Rosa’s use of Oilily fabrics in her creations she replies, “This is absolutely true. Like many other crafters, I am (I should say was) attracted by Oilily’s fabrics. They have beautiful prints, and they sell these fabrics through their outlet stores. I never imagined using them would be a problem.”
Unlike her dolls, Rosa does not plan on going soft on this issue. “Is stealing another person’s work OK for Oilily?” questions an angry Rosa. “I am in the process of finding out what type of legal action I can take against them,” she continues. She feels it is “very important to let them know how wrong they are in doing something like this.” To show your support for Rosa Pomar’s efforts, visit her blog at aervilhacorderosa.com.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
*all images (except where stated) are of course © Rosa Pomar