Image via MTV3.fi
I had my alarm clock on this morning so I could watch the Ihamuotila-interview on MTV3. I couldn’t get my eyes open. Thank heavens, there’s social media and I found abundant of links to the clip. The gist of the interview was that Marimekko and Louekari deny all the accusations:
Where’s the line between plagiarism and inspiration? “Looks like traced through baking paper”
In today’s Huomenta Suomi, the host Jesse Kamras showed Iltalehti‘s image to Marimekko CEO Mika Ihamuotila. Below is translated version of the original transcript found in here.
Kamras: This mystical Barcelona-bag and Maija Louekari’s Moments-print, yeah, there’s a picture in Iltalehti from 1960′s. By photographer Markus Lepo of Esplanadi. You could almost say it’s traced through baking paper so where is the line between plagiarism and inspiration?
Ihamuotila: It usually is, sometimes you move in a gray area. Sometimes it’s like a line in water, sometimes it’s hard to say. But usually it’s quite clear if it’s original inspiration, which is no where near any other work, so then you talk about a work of art that’s individual and original. -But this piece, you brought up right now, is it from today’s paper? It’s incomprehensible. That’s Maija Louekari’s one of a kind and original description of Esplanadi. And then some spanish bag manufacturer copied that and now Finnish press is claiming, based on a rumor that that (ours) is copied from that.
Kamras: But if you lay the Moments-print on top of the image, it’s one on one but is, is it inspiration?
Ihamuotila: For goodness sake, history of the world is filled with amazing but abstract works, based on views. And that is completely original and in my opinion very fabulous, that Maija Louekari’s original piece.
Well, I received a link here in comments and on Twitter, to this blogpost from 2011 and specifically to this picture:
Image via mikasavela.tumblr.com
Yup. I’d say that’s definitely the original. The photo is by Markus Lepo and can be found in a book from 1960′s. Mika Savela says in his blog that the book’s name loosely translates as “Helsinki and it’s people”. He then proceeds to discuss about how it is cool that this image and the city life in it, “trickled down” through decades and found their way into various products:
Image via mikasavela.tumblr.com
You should go and read the full post HERE at mikasavela.tumblr.com. He writes in English.
So what does this mean to the copy claims? Well, it still could mean that the photo was made originally into a print by the spanish company. Marimekko’s defenders say that every designer have lots of inspiration pictures and after a while they blur together and so on. I say it’s entirely possible that a Spanish designer bought copy of the book on some holiday to Finland. I have my share of vintage photo books from abroad for exactly this reason. They are cheap and they are cute.
It’s also possible that Marimekko did the print first. However, we have an iffy beginnings story. In yesterday’s statement we saw sketches of city views but we didn’t see the original concept board/images they were based on. In such, using vintage/retro tourist images for a basis IS a fun concept. However, now it’s too late for Marimekko to say that it was their original intention as they didn’t say so originally.
Marimekko’s defenders have jumped on the poor woman who brought up the similarities between the bag and the Marimekko-print. Questioning her background and whatnot. I’ve responded to them and I write it down here too: It doesn’t matter what her background is. She can be drug addict, disease-riddled prostitute but it doesn’t change the facts if the bag is older than Marimekko’s Hetkiä. Even if it turns out that Marimekko was copied, still, all she did was that she brought it up and even then, it’s good for Marimekko because then they can start legal proceedings against the Spanish company.
Now, all we have to do is found out the manufacturer of the bag. Then this will be solved. (Well, not for Marimekko. They have serious problems with their creative, business and communication processes).
Thrifty Finn- Loosing Twitter-followers faster than I can type Marimekko
P.S. I will be back to regular blogging soon