Fashion

Filipino Artist Feanne Accuses British Fashion Brand Rixo of Allegedly Stealing Her Design

The two parties are currently engaged in legal talks over patterns the British brand allegedly copied and used on some of its clothes.
IMAGE COURTESY OF FEANNE INSTAGRAM/@feanne
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Filipino artist Feanne has built her reputation around creating hand-sketched prints on silk scarves and exhibiting her own works of art. 

In December 2018, she learned that British retailer Rixo had been producing apparel patterned after a design similar to her own. To sort out the matter, she enlisted a Filipino law firm’s services to inquire about whether Rixo had drafted an agreement with her brand Feanne prior to the release of the garments.

Feanne says she first sketched the design “sometime before October 30, 2014, and scanned into the computer and therefore digitized” on the same date, according to her documents. Rixo, on the other hand, made prior claims in an Instagram post on November 12, 2017, that the prints used on the garments were handpainted and sketched.

Feanne and her lawyers have heard back from the legal agency representing Rixo founders Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey. The brand, however, continues to maintain its stand that the designs are authentically its own. Therefore, their client “is not required to obtain such license.”

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“Rixo’s lawyer replied on January 11 to say that they did not obtain licensing, and that the fabric prints are their own original hand-sketched works, independently created by the brand founders Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey in January 2016,” Feanne wrote in an Instagram post. “I find it hard to believe that these were independently created, as even the asymmetry and irregularities in the lines are identical.” 

The first known release of Rixo’s “Moonlit Sky” was in 2016 and its “Oriental Sky” was released in 2017. Meanwhile, Feanne’s “Star, Moon, Cloud, Sky Drawings,” which appears to contain elements present in both of Rixo’s products, was created in 2014. “The linework is consistent with my illustration style. As an artist specializing in illustration, I have been publishing and exhibiting my work since 2006. I have been licensing out artwork since 2014, and creating my own fabric prints since 2015,” Feanne’s post continues. 

She tells Town&Country: “I don’t claim to own the idea or the style” and that its print layout is original but “the drawings used in the layout appear identical to mine, including the irregularities in the lines.”

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See the full post below:

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Last December, someone spotted my artwork printed on Rixo clothing and asked me about it. Rixo is a UK fashion brand that claims to have handpainted all their prints. Rixo did not contact me for a collaboration or commission. I have no records of licensing obtained by them. My lawyer wrote to them on December 23 to ask if they have a license for my work. Rixo’s lawyer replied on January 11 to say that they did not obtain licensing, and that the fabric prints are their own original handsketched works, independently created by the brand founders Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey in January 2016. I find it hard to believe that these were independently created, as even the asymmetry and irregularities in the lines are identical. I first published this artwork online in October 2014 on a licensing platform. I have the original drawings on paper, as well as the original scanned file dated October 2014. The linework is consistent with my illustration style. As an artist specializing in illustration, I have been publishing and exhibiting my work since 2006. I have been licensing out artwork since 2014, and creating my own fabric prints since 2015. Rixo has been using the Moonlit Sky and Oriental Sky prints, which contain my artwork, since 2016. The Moonlit Sky print is apparently among their bestsellers, such that they re-released it in 2017 and 2018. They used this print on clothing sold on retailers such as Net-A-Porter, and it was featured on publications such as WhoWhatWear. I’m sure these retailers and publications are unaware of this issue, and I believe they also have a right to know. Rixo even posted the print on social media saying “hours of hand painting and sketching this print have paid off”. I am publicly asserting my rights as the original artist. My lawyers at Stephenson Harwood UK have sent Rixo a letter response on March 29 to assert my claim. I demand that Rixo give me a public apology, attribution, and financial compensation for their unauthorized commercial use of my work as well as for the legal fees I am incurring in pursuing this matter. Inquiries: [email protected] @rixo @diet_prada @fashion.fakes @whowhatwear @whowhatwear.uk

A post shared by Feanne (@feanne) on

The clothes produced by Rixo fronting what look like replicas of Feanne’s designs have been featured on fashion websites such as WhoWhatWear and are sold on e-commerce platform Net-A-Porter.

Feanne's lawyers in the U.K. has sent Rixo's representatives a second letter detailing the acts of infringement, the legal implications, and the artist's terms for compromise. Part of the last letter from Feanne's lawyers:

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Hannah Lazatin
Features Editor
Hannah is originally from Pampanga and from a big, close-knit family who likes to find a reason to get together at the dinner table. Experiences inspire her. “Once, at a restaurant, I received an interpretation of my second name ‘Celina,’ and it meant 'someone who tries everything once' and that is me through and through,” she says. As for the job, she wants her “readers to be inspired by the stories of the people we feature and to move them to reach for greater things.”
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