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The luxury streetwear brand @off____white by @virgilabloh and Australian women's clothing label @gormanclothing by @_lisagorman have both recently drawn upon my collection for their latest releases. Whilst I'd be wrong to claim any sort of rights over the designs themselves (I’m a realist, I’m very aware that research and documentation simply isn’t IP), it's telling that two brands, on two different continents, used the same source, at exactly the same time. If feels a little devoid of imagination. Essentially, they ransacked my account and ripped off my curatorial efforts, not my designs, and it's lazy, hacky design. / @virgilabloh is lorded by some as a creative genius, and by others as a luxury knock-off merchant. Maybe he’s both. He’s undoubtedly smart, enthusiastic, curious. Part of me want’s to dislike him, but I don’t. There is something about the no-holds-barred, copy and paste attitude that I can’t help but respect, on some level. It's his MO and process, he's nothing but open about that. Comparatively, the @gormanclothing effort seems murky, and conceptually weak. It doesn't help that @_lisagorman's stance when challenged about this type of behaviour previously was "I am completely against copying artists’ work and it’s clearly not in the interest of the brand to do so.” I think in reality, it's always in the interest of the brand to follow zeitgeist and commercialise on it. That's business. / Maybe this is just Culture '17? Maybe this is just fashion. / Either way, this kind of behaviour is becoming the status quo for some retailers and designers, and it shouldn't go unchallenged. Ideas around ownership aren't anything new, but it's always worth being part of the conversation.
The popular Instagrammer brought the issue to light through an Instagram post it uploaded on Monday, October 30. “They ripped off my curatorial efforts, not my designs, and it’s simply lazy,” reads part of the post.
In a post on Reddit, Fruit Stickers has also written: “I’ve shared 600 stickers so far, but my physical collection spans thousands. I could have easily worked with either of these brands at the development stage.”
The Instagrammer alleges that Off-White has used its sticker curation on the Patches Down Jacket priced at US$4,839 (approx. S$6,609), while it accuses Gorman of using the sticker designs on a pair of leggings that will only be released in November.
Curator equals designer?
Some Redditors, however, are not convinced of the reasons for Fruit Stickers’ crying foul. Some have labeled the Instagrammer a hypocrite since the sticker designs are not original creations by Fruit Stickers. View an excerpt of the thread below:
What are your thoughts on the issue? Let us know in the comments below.