Unfortunately, large companies’ ripping off individual artists’ designs is nothing new. But when one Australian makeup artist’s work was copied without her permission, she was not about to go down without a fight.
Earlier this week, a MUA who posts her amazing, rainbow-colored eye makeup looks on Instagram as @doyouevenblend and lists her name as Katina, noticed that Real Techniqueshad posted a photo on Instagram of an inventive eyeliner design that was extremely similar to one she posted in December. Real Techniques apparently neglected to mention or tag Katina in their recreation of her look, and rather than accepting the blatant plagiarism as par for the course, the makeup artist decided to fight back.
On Wednesday, she posted a photo on Instagram in which she compares her design and Real Techniques’ iteration side by side. The look features bright coral eyeshadow covering the eyelid, a fuchsia shade in the crease, and a swipe of fluorescent yellow eyeliner on the outside half of the eye and right under the brow. The two images are almost exactly the same: The biggest difference is that Katina added another short line of yellow liner in the inside corner of the eye.
She also uploaded screenshots of a back and forth she had with Real Techniques in the comments section of its post. “This is an exact copy of a look I uploaded in December last year.. Down to placement and colours. Where is this image from?” she initially commented. The brush company deflected Katina’s accusations and offered to send her a gift: “This is an image that we created using one of our makeup artists! We love your profile, it’s so inspirational. We’d like to send you a gift so you can keep creating looks that slay. Please DM us!” But Katina wasn’t having it. “[Your] make-up artist didn’t CREATE it. They Re-created it,” she wrote. “This is not acceptable and incredibly disheartening as an [artist] who put [their] heart and soul into [their] creations. Perhaps employing artists with [their] own creative flair might be a better option? Or just employ the artist who originally came up with it if you love [their] work so much!?… Are u joking?!! A gift? Wow… I’ve been purchasing your brushes since I started doing make-up 5 years ago. I’m not some greedy blogger on Instagram that just wants free sh*t. What a f*cking joke.”
Since the exchange, Real Techniques has removed its post and, according to a new post from Katina, reached out to apologize to her. “@realtechniques have apologised for ‘any harm caused’ on their behalf, and for the ‘misunderstanding,'” she wrote. “For those saying I should ‘just be flattered’, ‘get over it’, ‘people copy all the time’, ‘just take the gift and shut up’. You’ve completely MISSED the point. I NEVER have an issue with anyone re-creating anything that I do.” She added, “For anyone that has an issue with the way I reacted to the situation, I’m not responsible for how that’s made you feel. I reacted in a way that came naturally to me in the moment (with emotion) and a way that I felt was appropriate. Especially considering the initial response I was given when I asked about the work. Although my use of language may have been harsh, I still have the right to DEFEND myself and my work. This is something that has happened to a lot of artists by major companies and other huge accounts here on Instagram, and I feel it’s important to speak up.”
Katina also updated the caption on her original post to further clarify what exactly angered her so much about the plagiarism. She wrote, “I almost always like or comment when anyone tags me in [their] recreations of my work! But, I HAD NEVER SEEN THIS IMAGE BEFORE UNTIL THEY POSTED. Not in my tagged photos or hashtag on Insta. They also hadn’t tagged any artist in the caption, which they ALWAYS do if you look at [their] old posts! This is what sent alarm bells off for me,” she wrote. “Secondly, I never claimed to create the technique or style. I merely explained that I hadn’t ever seen the same PLACEMENT of the liner previous to when I had posted it in December. I made it clear that I love it when people recreate my looks. The problem I had is that a big cosmetic company paid a different artist to copy it so they could use it to market [their] brand. Instead of just hiring me or asking if they can just use what I had already created.”
Sadly, Katina isn’t the only artist to have her work stolen by bigger, more powerful players. Last month, a photographer sued Urban Outfitters and Forever 21 (which has come under firemultiple times before for allegedly stealing indie artists’ designs) for printing pictures he had taken of Tupac Shakur on clothing without his permission. And not long before that, a young design student accused Gucci of ripping off his designs for the brand’s fall 2017 collection.
UPDATE: Eva Oreskovich, Vice President of Global Marketing for Paris Presents Incorporated, the owner of the brand, Real Techniques has released the below statement.
“We made a mistake and have since reached out to the artist to apologize personally. We are embarrassed by the situation. Real Techniques prides itself in being authentic to those who want to create, experiment and transform their makeup routines. We also apologize to our fans and followers.”