Los Angeles–based illustrator and artist Lili Chin has publicly accused Old Navy of ripping off some of her designs for a set of pajamas the retailer debuted last fall.
Chin told Complex she first became aware of Old Navy’s potential copycat design back in November. “A customer contacted me when she saw these pajamas on the Old Navy site and said they looked like the designs from my Dogs of the World series,” she said. “I was upset. Not only because it was stolen but because I have always wanted to make pajamas with my dog designs on them.”
At first, Chin reached out to the company to try and have the matter settled amicably, but after Old Navy denied the copyright infringement, she decided to file a lawsuit. “I work as a professional artist and this is how I earn a living selling prints, and licensing my copyrighted designs,” she said. “When my attorneys reached out to Old Navy to resolve this matter, they denied any copyright infringement, told to court to give me nothing and demanded I pay their legal costs. All I want is for Old Navy to do the right thing.”
In the past few years, this kind of theft from independent artists has made headlines thanks to companies like Zara and Urban Outfitters, both of which have been accused of ripping off artists' work on multiple occasions. “Large companies like Old Navy should know better that images they find on the internet are someone else's intellectual property,” Chin said, when asked about these other cases. “Working with artists and compensating us fairly would be the ethical thing to do.”
Chin explained that the legal process against Old Navy has been stressful, but she wants to send a message to all retailers. “I am not going to give up,” she said. “Companies need to know that they can't steal from artists, not compensate them, and get away with it.”