Savannah Wyatt's original video lookbook, co-directed by Savannah Wyatt and Bon Duke.
Back in January, I posted images from my wonderful friend Savannah Wyatt's lookbook, featuring her line of headbands and hats. Since then, her work and the accompanying video has attracted plenty of attention, including a post on Kanye West's blog.
It all seemed like magic, especially when Savannah received an email from Rihanna's publicist thanking her for her inspiring video, and crediting it as the source of inspiration for Rihanna's new video, ROCKSTAR 101. Savannah was honored, offering to make a piece for the pop star, until the actual video was released. She saw that the opening sequence of the video not only directly mimicked her own video in style, movement, and costuming with black body paint, but they had additionally knocked off one of her signature crown of thorn headbands rather than asking to borrow it from her. She received absolutely no form of creative credit, monetary compensation, or publicity for her line--which would naturally have served as compensation enough for a designer at the beginning of her career.
I know that fashion forgery is ubiquitous, and that part of being a successful designer is getting knocked off left and right. In fact, after a couple of times you learn to forget about it and move on. Nonetheless, it's still not okay, and I find it particularly egregious that more and more, young and unknown designers are being targeting. I think this is because there is an assumption that the original work is of an obscure and unrecognizable origin to the general public, and additionally because young designers usually have no means to fight back. I think Outi from OutsaPop wrote an excellent post about copying here.
Savannah's case is a little different, since it was her lookbook video which was copied, and even though her designs were knocked off, they were never sold for commercial use. Still, it is disappointing that an artist as famous and successful as Rihanna would knowingly partake in what amounts to creative thievery. At the very least she could have borrowed the real piece from Savannah, who would have certainly lent it to her, and thus gained some amount of attention for her brand. Instead, all she got was thank you note for her unknowing creative contribution to the making of a video which has already received more than 16,465,000 views on Youtube.
Rihanna's ROCKSTAR 101 video inspired by Savannah's lookbook video
Thursday, June 24, 2010