March 22, 2009

Oilily, AKA The Dutch Portuguese Indies Plundering Company

Those Dutch, always with the greedy, unilateral attacks on the Portuguese Indies.

In the 17th Century, it was the Dutch East Indies Company seeking to wrest control of lucrative spice trading routes in Asia that were controlled by the Portuguese Empire, which was at the time aligned with Spain, who was waging the 80 Years War against The Netherlands.


Now in the 21st Century, Oilily, the leading global purveyor of the pattern-on-pattern Haute Moppet look, has raided Portugal's most famous indie plush artist and made off with her trademark product.

First slide, please: Oilily's Spring/Summer 2009 collection includes a flatout knockoff of Rosa Pomar's signature flower-eyed bunny [above], which she's been making--and selling, and garnering significant design press for--for several years now.

The bunny appears in a girl's layette gift set from the newborn Supersoft Collection, product no.103394-3005 [below]. It's also incorporated into the newborn colection's labels and packaging. To this somewhat trained eye, it looks like a straight up rip-off of Pomar's design.


The boy's Supersoft layette, product no. 103444-6405, has a dog that's similar-looking, but with a different face/eye treatment from Pomar's non-bunny products [her main other animal is a monkey, not a dog, and her non-flower eyes are just tiny dots, not big, Petey-from-Little Rascals-style asymmetrical circles.]


The irony, of course, is that if Oilily'd just asked, I'm sure Pomar would have gladly made an exclusive version for them. After all, she did it in 2007 for Nurseryworks, creating a series of bunnies using the company's own fabric pattern, which were exhibited widely, but which were only available through Nurseryworks' website.

I've contacted Oilily's creative director Liam Maher in the corporate office in Amsterdam to see what they have to say. Stay tuned.

Check out actual Rosa Pomar dolls at her online store [, via rosa herself]
Previously: Nurseryworks-exclusive Rosa Pomars at the 2007 International Gift Fair [daddytypes]
Oillily s/s09 girls Supersoft layette [, the source of the images above]


Nous tous qui connaissons le travail de Rosa Pomar trouvons scandaleux cette affaire de la part d'1 marque comme oilily ! & bien sûr on est avec Rosa Pomar pour défendre son travail d'artiste/designer.
merci pour cette page

Who cares?

If you don't care, don't read this blog... there are actually people out there who do like to know when some big company is ripping off indie artists though. (Says the guy who bought his kid a Like-A-Bike ripoff Scuut...)

you mean besides me and the French?

Well I care! It's WRONG for anyone to STEAL, I dont' care if it's a crackhead or a big company. And they have lawyers and junk and probably think they are immune from laws...whatever...shame on you Oilily :(

Wow. I never would have imagined that someday I'd be reading a post on daddytypes (that, alone, is true, actually), and that my thesis on 17th century Dutch maritime history, my knowledge of the French language, my interest in modern design, and my toddler daughter's toys would all converge in one glorious post. Thanks, Greg.

If only I could've worked in Eames-era California somehow. I'll try better next time.

It is stealing and it will be interesting to see what Olily´s response will be. I have read Rosa´s blog for years now and know she has worked very hard. Her work is inimitable.

BOOO! This happens a lot and it sux! This is blatant infringement. Well busted now for sure!

hmm, unfortunately, it seems pretty imitable, and Oilily's been imitating it for a while.

A commenter, Strikkelise from Norway, snapped a photo in 2006 of an Oilily design that reminded her of Rosa Pomar's work.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Playing devil's advocate, is it possible Rosa Pomar's bunnies are a blatant rip-off of Oilily's "Bobbin Bunny" character, who has been around for nearly a decade and boasts trademark flower eyes, a heart nose, and a curly smile... just like Pomar's bunnies. Bobbin was featured heavily in the 2003 fall/winter line - you can see examples from this collection here:

and here:

Bobbin has been updated with each line to take on the appearance of the line's feature. In fall/winter 2005, the Russian Doll line, she's dressed like a Matroushka Doll:

Thus, I am not surprised to see that Pomar is also drawing inspiration from Oilily as far as the fabric she used for the bunny in the fifth picture down on this page - it's Oilily's famous blue delft print.

very interesting. that Matroushka version is the one Strikkelise photographed above.

It's also an interesting point about Pomar being inspired by Oilily, too. If I understand her process correctly, she uses vintage and found fabric, and Oilily's been in the brightly patterned fabric business for a long time. Her incorporation of Oilily fabrics wouldn't surprise me.

I dug up an old comment from my (now closed) old blog about this.

"That little fluffer nut is of the happy forest creatures of the last century. I saw several of them while I was living in San Francisco in the late 70's. Now? Voila, they are back and you don't have to be on medication to see them ;-)."

It´s possible that Oilily´s creature and Pomar´s dolls have some common roots elsewhere, but it seems to me that Oilily´s stuff is becoming more and more like Pomar's design.

APPARENTLY, Pomar began creating her "trademark" bunnies in 2004 and Oilily had that little doppleganger long before 2004 so it would seem that Pomar is the copycat and not vice versa....

should do our research before bitching.

APPARENTLY, you mean "your research," in which case, that's what's happening right now. I still don't think it's so easy to dismiss Rosa's complaint, much less to call her the knockoff artist.

One of the 2003 Oilily bunny images Jill linked to above looks at least related to the later ones from the Pomar Era, but the other one looks wildly different.

It's obvious, I think, that the idea of a bunny with flower eyes predates both companies, but Oilily's bunny has morphed over time, and the latest incarnation is a clone of Pomar's, from the ears to the face to the fabric to the tag.

Interestingly, within a few hours of posting this, I've heard from at least two designers who have had unambiguous IP conflicts with Oilily, and both were basically told to shove it; if they want to, they can sue.

Pomar's situation is clear in some ways, complicated in others, but the reality--that she's a lone creator feeling ripped off by a global corporation, who has little or no chance of restitution--I think that has never been in doubt. You just note it and move on.

Is it really that easy that the earlier bunny from Oilily suddenly turns into something exactly like Rosa's dolls?
I don't think so.

Rosa's creative process and evolution through time is fully documented on her blog, and anybody can access that.
Now, I would like to see the "creative process" from Oilily's creatives that led to something so "Pomarish".

Everybody keeps talking about Oilily like an individual.
It's a company with multiple creative minds, I'm sure. So that doll had to be designed by someone in particular, for this collection. I just would like to know who that was, and see that "evolution".
That simple.

good point, and a good time to note that Liam Maher--or anyone at Oililiy, for that matter--has not responded to specific email questions about this.

To me, it's is really a rip off Rosa's design. And it was no doubtly done with conscience because of the care you can see on the detaisl they made legally different enough. It's a shame that a very talented artist can be so unpunishably copied, let's all hope not!

Is this infringement something with which the other rebuffed designers and Pomar could collaboratively take Oililiy to court? That would have been the case if their roles were reversed, wouldn't it?

as far as I know, they are completely unrelated cases/designs/products, so I think each one would have to be taken on separately.

For me is a scandal. I'm surprised the commentaires of people here...
I follow Rosa Pomar blog and I see she is making the originals.
Also I think Oilily's are NOT as cute as hers. A BAD COPY!

And Rosa never hide that the fabric was Oilily when she used it.

This is such an obvious copy of Rosa’s work.
she has her work and the entire process registated on her blog...since her first doll.

this is so obvious!! just don't see who doens't want...
rosa has all her evolution design process of her dolls!

Gosh - even the stich that makes the nose is the same as in Rosa's dolls. It is a complete rip off.

I feel bad for her - because to take them to court for copyright infringment,as far as I know, you have to cough up a lot of money.

I hope Oilily recognise their mistake (or of one of their designers) and will compensate her

Does anyone know where one of Rosa's dolls can be purchased in US? I love them. Went to her website and couldn't find any info on the english pages, such as they were. I want to support the independent artist! Down with Oilily!

I am surprised with the suggested resemblance between the first Oilily's bunnies and Rosa Pomar's softies!... They have absolutely nothing to do with each other. The ears, the eyes, the legs, the nose, the body shape... come on, it is unquestionable this was never even slightly inspirational for Rosa Pomar's work!!! Don't try to make up resembalnaces where they clearly do no exist. This suggestion is very offensive as it is so unfounded.

On the contrary, Oilily's last bunny is a clear copy of Rosa Pomar's. Undoubtedly.

I think the egg is Oilily as the fabric was already there before her bunnies ... shame on her !

Wow, such a traumatic reaction over practically nothing. there is an obvious resemblance in the basic concept--bunny with flower eyes--but only because both Oilily and Pomar were inspired by much earlier sources. And it was clearly stated that Oilily's earlier bunnies do NOT look like Pomar's, especially in many of the details and overall design. The later ones just as clearly DO look like Pomar's.

Hello, I've came to this blog when looking for info about Pomar's situation.

I do agree with Greg: this is an issue, there is people living out of their creativity and that have limited ways/means/money to protect their art. It costs a lot of money to protect worldwide your patterns, unaffordable for a creator working on its own. I have many designers friends who have had same problems with companys copying their designs. Internet has become a necessary tool to promote our designs and legally it is very difficult to protect our creations.

So yes, this is an issue interesting all little designers as me and thousands of others. Thanks for sharing!

I totally agree with Miss Boule. This is absolutely outrageous and should, by no means, be left aside as it hadn't happened.
It's true that internet is a two sided knife, because it lets you publicise your work, and at the same time it exposes the same work to rip off and plagiarism. But the power of public opinion and the legion of followers of Rosa's work may have their strength precisely with the internet's omnipresence. So let's all give our opinion away, lets all make noise!


I'm a great fan of Rosa's work, but I have been buying Bobbin Bunny stuff for my daughter since 2003, and so am NOT convinced that they are knock-offs.

Greg, you should have provided images of Bobbin bunny stuff over the years in order to be fair.

Frankly, I'm thinking Rosa has been inspired by Oililly.

Rosa has mentioned when she used vintage Oilily fabric in the past, and she has clearly said the basic flower-eyed-bunny idea goes way back to the 70's or 60's or whatever--it's all a haze to me, too much Sesame Street. But there is a definite Rosa-esque change in the look and details of Bobbin Bunny after Rosa started making her bunnies in 2004. There oughta be some eBay links around here somewhere to BB items from before and after.

Too late to cry now... because Ugly Oily was produced in China, not a 6-months from now, bunnies looking more or less like Rosa's will be literally everywhere.

I'm profundly sorry for Rosa Pomar, I can't begin to image the feeling (your project is your baby, and someone had it cloned without your permission!!! it must drive you crazy!).

But at the same time, trying to drain out what positive lesson is possible from all the "spilled milk", maybe this will teach people to use the patent registration service ( [it's expensive enough to have you think twice, but come on... see what happens otherwise?)

And at the same time, this shows RP that 1.her work is awsome; and 2.people get out of their seats to stand to her defense!

And again: I'm profundly sorry mediocre people and companies steal. It makes me sick.

Go, go, Rosa. Coragem!!

I have great sympathy (and empathy) for plagarism. Oilily should be taken to court once the confusion over 'Bobbin Bunny' is cleared up. I think Rosa may have a good case, as she is quite well-known.

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