Last Friday, J-fashion twitter was alight with drama when Larme model Risa Nakamura pointed out the similarity of an image used in one of Ank Rouge’s latest onepiece to a picture of her from Halloween a few years back.
She clearly hadn’t given the brand permission to use her image in this way and was concerned that her fans may think it was a collaboration item. Since Ank Rouge features in Larme and last year Risa modelled in their catalogue, that isn’t too big a leap to make. Risa Nakamura has collaborated with other brands such as withsun before.
Yesterday she made a follow up twitter post with an apology from the brand for misusing her likeness. For those of you that can’t read Japanese it states as follows:
Customers and those concerned,
It was pointed out to us by various people that our mail order site Ailand and other online shopping sites were selling an Ank Rouge brand onepiece bearing an image of Risa Nakmura. Our company checked with the manufacturer of the product, and it was found that they had used the image without checking the image rights.
We apologise to all those involved, and the customers that support Ank Rouge, who were inconvenienced and worried due to our management failure.
We will improve our internal structure so this may never happen again.
Ank Rouge Sales Department
So I guess that should be the end of it. It took them no time to yank the dress off the site but I am surprised it took them so long to issue this response. Especially since in the meantime, below Risa’s original post, plenty of other people posted their own examples of times they feel Ank Rouge has ripped off other brand’s work. This included brands like bubbles and Katie, who are also prominent in the larme-kei scene.
Considering Ank Rouge has been going through some growing pains for the past few seasons, trying to court the larme-kei girls, it isn’t surprising to me that they looked to popular brands for “inspiration”. Some gratuitous “borrowing” is common in j-fashion (just look at half of what BAD makes, if Rihanna only knew…) but this one is unique if only for the people involved and them actually being called out for it.
I hope this makes for a change personally. Yes, copying and borrowing is a huge part of fashion in general. You take what someone else has done and put your own spin on it creating something new. But the “new” part is integral. Designers have a right to their intellectual property and people have a right to their own image. Let me know in the comments what you guys think?