Does This Kohl's Shirt Rip Off YACHT?

I feel like some version of this happens all the damn time: A couple years back, Forever 21 started selling a Flipper T-shirt that bore a distinct resemblance to a shirt worn by Kurt Cobain on Saturday Night Live in 1992 (which Cobain had created himself with a magic marker). Last year, UK fashion house Hardware appropriated Crass’s logo for their own merchandise. Heck, two weeks ago designer Jeremy Scott showed a line that blatantly ripped off iconic skateboard graphics created in the ’80s by Jimbo Phillips. (Disney’s mind-destroying Joy Division Mickey Mouse T-shirt belongs somewhere in this conversation, too.) Now, LA-via-Portland dance duo YACHT are alleging that Kohl’s lifted both their lyrics and their logo for a new T-shirt. And, as you can see from the photo above, the evidence is pretty damning. Wrote the band on their Tumblr:

Listen, we’re interested in how ideas circulate through popular culture, but this “If I Can’t Go To Heaven” triangle t-shirt is too much. Kohl’s is a huge corporate entity that stands to make way more money off our lyrics and design than we ever will. Please share this image and let Kohl’s know it’s not OK to rip independent artists off this blatantly.

Yeah, ideas are in the ether and all that, but unless I’m missing something, this is just corporate-enabled theft; in my limited experience, artists have little to no recourse in cases like this. But maybe I’m missing something? What say you guys?

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Comments (17)
  1. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  2. Its always funny when big corporations think they can ape some small artist’s thing like no one is going to notice. Unfortunately for Kohl’s the internet is a thing.

  3. this is ridiculous, how can corporations get away with this? I mean they are beyond wealthy so they shouldn’t have to steal ideas like this, they should be more than able to higher someone to design things that are original. Well except if they did that they would be contradicting their very nature, so forget I ever suggested they be original.

  4. I’d really like to know the series of decisions that led to this shirt being created. How does it happen?

  5. The triangle just puts it over the top, this is pretty blatant.

  6. Big companies are going to try and rip you off no matter what, but especially if you’re using a basic shape like a triangle as your band logo.

  7. Yeah, there’s no way they can claim ignorance to this.

  8. You can just go ahead and change that to “Kohl’s Shirt Rips Off Yachts”.

  9. Yacht and DFA should sue Kohls. Isn’t Mr Murphy in a litigious mood these days?

  10. they should probably just name their next album Kohl’s

  11. Used to work for Kohls back in the day. Graphic tees like these aren’t designed usually by Kohls. In fact the website has it listed as Freeze brand which can also be found at Sears. Chances are a buyer at corporate with no knowledge of Yacht thought the shirt would be a hit and ordered a metric shit ton of these that will be on a clearance rack in no time.

    Definitely a rip off, but I’m guessing these guys are more to blame than anyone: http://www.freeze-ny.com/page_company.asp

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