Left: the original Lil Soap by Jess Fink. Right: the Hot Topic rip-off.
Jess Fink, an illustrator and creator of dirty comics published by Fantagraphics, created the shirt design on the left, dubbed Lil Soap, and sold it through her Threadless.com shop. Hot Topic distributed the shirt on the right soon after. Jess wrote to the company that made the eerily-similar shirt for Hot Topic, and the presidents of the company (which is named New Breed Girl) responded with the following:
“It is my poiicy (sic) to encourage freelancers to use the free Getty photo images as reference points & we also use sketches from the Japanese free clip art books, which have inanimate objects with cute faces & legs etc. which are also very similar to the soap.”
Hmmm. Jess plans to take up the matter in court. In the meantime, friends have banded together to show their support by making parody images which include some hot soap-on-soap slash. It was way too early in the morning for me to behold this Harry Potter image (NWS?).
Friends of Jess have shown their solidarity by making images such as this.