The singer Billie Eilish swiftly pulled apparel produced in collaboration with fashion brand Siberia Hills from her website after social-media critics accused her of copying anime fan artists without permission.
Last week, Eilish unveiled the small capsule collection, which includes a t-shirt and a hoodie, and almost immediately, Twitter user @nesturr pointed out that the design featured Nozomi Tojo, a character from the anime show Long Live! The Tweet has since amassed 58,800 likes and 25,000 retweets.
Makoto Kurokawa, a fan artist with 45,000 Twitter followers, drew Nozomi Tojo scantily clad in a bikini and repeated four times. A very similar image from Siberia Hills, which also featured the name Billie written in Japanese characters, altered the color of the character’s hair and bathing suit.
“To the talented artist Mr. M_Qurokawa, we apologize for taking from your artwork for our merchandise collaboration with Billie Eilish,” the company wrote on Instagram. “Billie and her team were not aware we used your art, they just believed in the product.” The company has cancelled production on the clothing, and will refund all orders.
Siberia Hills, founded in 2017 by Russian designer Daf Orlovsky, has been accused of copying anime art in the past. The brand rose to prominence with a collection that featured characters from the popular Japanese series Sailor Moon, and the Anime News Network suggested the brand used a drawing of a woman in sexy military gear from artist Matsuryū for a line it released earlier this year with British YouTube star FaZe Kay.
Eilish, too, has had similar run-ins in the past. The 17-year-old musician came under fire in June when the music video for her single “bad guy” appeared to take motifs from photographs in Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari’s satirical art magazine Toiletpaper.
The video’s director, Dave Meyers, has also been named in lawsuits alleging that he copied artists’ works in Ariana Grande’s video “God Is a Woman” and Kendrick Lamar’s “All the Stars.”
In April, Eilish and Japanese artist Takashi Murakami released an animated music video for her single “You Should See Me in a Crown,” as well as matching limited-edition merchandise from Apple Music. The anime-style video took eight months to produce using motion capture technology and features an animated version of Eilish who transforms into a spider-like monster, as well as Murakami’s signature smiling flowers. The two had previously collaborated on a photo shoot for Garage magazine.
Murakami and his animation company, Studio PONCOTAN, held an exhibition about the making of the video at the artist’s anime-themed Tokyo art gallery, Animaga Zingaro, in July. On view were story boards and other preparatory sketches and materials used in the making of “You Should See Me in a Crown,” as well as a life-size sculpture of the animated version of Eilish.
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