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Fashion February, 21 2013

Is Artist Jim Phillips Being Ripped Off by Jeremy Scott?

‘This is crazy!’, ‘Wow? Really!’ and ‘WTF!’ are some of the reactions Jimbo Phillips gave on his Facebook page to the news that renowned fashion designer Jeremy Scott had used his dad’s and his own artwork on multiple pieces of his Fall 2013 collection.

This news has sent shockwaves through the skateboard community and has left multiple people questioning Jeremy Scott’s creativity and his integrity.

For those of you who don not know Jim Phillips, he designed some of the most iconic and well-known Santa Cruz skateboard graphics from the eighties, like the Screaming Hand, the Slasher graphic for Keith Meek’s pro model boards, several graphics for Rob Roskopp’s boards and many other graphics.

His artwork is so iconic that it has even been used for different collaborations. To name a few: Grenade Gloves (2007), Puma Shoes (2008), SkullCandy headphones (2011), and more recently Stance Socks. To top it off, Jeremy Scott now uses Jim Phillips’ graphics, exposing a counter culture’s ‘sacred’ art to the masses. At least that is how it seems like for now.

Based on Jimbo’s comments we can only conclude that in the latter case we don’t face a collaboration. It seems like we deal with serious plagiarism. Jeremy Scott doesn’t even refer to Phillips as a source of inspiration. We, and you probably too, are now curious if Scott really didn’t know whom he stole from. Or did he know and still made the conscious decision to use the art. And if that’s the case why didn’t he give his own spin to it? Why use it in such an obvious way? The same goes for art that Jeremy Scott seems to have used from Mike Roman. VampireStatebuilding for instance states the following on their Tumblr: ‘Looks like Jimbo Phillips wasn’t the only artist Jeremy Scott ripped off for his 2013 ”collection”. On the right is one of Mike Romans stencils…as can be seen from the film ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’. Not everyone is as dumb as you Jeremy.’

Jim Phillips answered the following: ‘I’m not sure if I will be able to comment publicly since it is a legal issue.’Robert Denike, CEO of NHS Inc. in Santa Cruz, California (who own Santa Cruz Skateboards) has let us know that he currently can’t comment on this legal matter either. Most likely he will give us a statement tomorrow.

HighSnobiety has also reached out to Jimbo Phillips, Mike Roman and Jeremy Scott. We are awaiting their reactions. Stay tuned for updates.

Jim Phillips just got back with the following:

“First off, they have a lot better looking models than we do! It’s always a sign of success when many others attempt to use or copy an artist’s works, but it is unfair to the artist and left unchecked can destroy the value of his work. I tried to call our licensing manager who is off for a few days… always the possibility that it was legitimately licensed….but looks not…even says “PHILLIPS STUDIOS RIP-OFF COLLECTION”.”

Once we hear back from everybody involved, we will be able to give you a more concrete version of what actually happened in this matter.

Words: Steven Fröhlich

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