COPY MACHINE: Appropriation may be in vogue, but Vivienne Westwood has possibly taken it a step too far having based one of the T-shirts in its fall 2018 collection on creations by young designers, Louise Gray and Rottingdean Bazaar.
The London-based house, which in 2012 took Anthony Knight to court for trademark and copyright infringement for allegedly copying some of Westwood’s famous punk-inspired orb logos and rebellious slogans, including “Let It Rock” and “Too Fast To Live, Too Young To Die,” on garments, posted the following apology on its Instagram page after its Saturday Paris show. It was accompanied by an image of the original Rottingdean Bazaar T-shirt from the label’s fall 2018 show and the copycat design, both modeled on overweight men.
Dear @louisegray__ and @rottingdeanbazaar. We are sorry. The use of your graphics on our t-shirt was only ever meant to be a celebration of your work. We got caught up in a last minute frenzy and did not contact you to ask for your permission. We are truly sorry about this mistake and want to make it up to you.
The post sparked a torrent of mainly negative comments. And by midday Sunday it had garnered 16,260 likes.
No one from Westwood or Rottingdean Bazaar could be reached for comment.
Other brands have been less straightforward about their faux pas.
Last June, music producer Swizz Beatz accused Balenciaga of ripping off a shirt produced by Ruff Ryders, the record label founded by his uncles and aunt, in its men’s collection.
This came after creative director Alessandro Michele was criticized for including a copy of a puff-sleeve bomber jacket designed by Harlem tailor Dapper Dan in Gucci’s cruise 2018 collection. The brand later issued a statement describing the look as an “homage.”
Meanwhile, Westwood herself in 2014 faced a plagiarism lawsuit after author Paul Gorman claimed she had lifted chunks of her autobiography from one of his own works.