Just a week ago, 17-year-old singer Billie Eilish released a capsule apparel collection that she created in collaboration with Siberia Hills, a fashion company founded in 2017 by designer Daf Orlovsky. However, the singer has since pulled the line, which included t-shirts and sweatshirts, from her website after she was accused of stealing the designs from anime artist Makoto Kurokawa.
Soon after the line was released, fans began to notice that one of the designs in particular bore an uncanny resemblance to one of Kurokawa’s drawings. In a tweet on August 8th, user @nesturr wrote: ‘Billie Eilish is selling stolen Nozomi art in her merch…’ and the tweet has since been shared over 25,000 times and liked by more than 58,800. The main article in question was a sweatshirt with an image of Long Live! character Nozomi Tojo. In Siberia Hills version for Eilish, Nozomi appears bikini-clad with black hair in four positions above Japanese characters spelling out ‘Billie.’ The figure and its poses are nearly identical to Kurokawa’s work.
Siberia Hills has since released an apology on Instagram that reads:
‘To the talented artist Mr. M_Qurokawa, we apologize for taking from your artwork for our merchandise collaboration with Billie Eilish.
Billie and her team were not aware that we used your art, they just believe in the product.
We were the creative force behind this collaboration. To Billie, and her fans, we apologize for causing this issue. These items will not be released. To those who already purchased, you will be refunded.’
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While some followers have defended Eilish and believe Siberia Hills is primarily to blame, both have had previous issues with copyright and plagiarism in the past. Most recently, Eilish was confronted with similar accusations for her music video for ‘bad guy,’ a recent single. Directed by Dave Meyers, the music video closely resembled works by Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari from Toilet Paper, their satirical art magazine. Meyers, too, is no stranger to these issues, either. He has been included in lawsuits around Ariana Grande’s music video for ‘God Is a Woman’ that allegedly copied artist Vladimir Kush without permissions and the video for ‘All the Stars’ by Kendrick Lamar that was strikingly similar to works by artist Lina Iris Viktor. As for Siberia Hills, they have been accused of producing ‘bootleg’ products in the past. Many have taken to Twitter condemning the brand for stealing works by others and selling them without permission at exuberant markups. Anime News Network has raised concerns about the similarities between other images used in Siberia Hills lines and works by artists like Matsuryū.
Eilish has yet to publicly comment on the situation.