SHANGHAI — Los Angeles-based artist Joshua Vides, known for his distinct black-and-white marker sketches, has taken to social media to blast Chinese brand Peacebird Men for what he said is a fraudulent collaboration.
On Friday, Vides complained to his 179,000 followers on Instagram that Chinese fashion brand, Peacebird Men, had put his signature on a series of products that he had no part in creating, sharing a campaign and products bearing the Peacebird logo, his name and the cartoon “Rick and Morty.” The video depicts a figure that signs the name, “Joshua Vides.”
“I’ve worked so…hard to get to where I am today. Years of creating, failing and trying my best to stay sane. Yet [Peacebird] continue to illegally produce and…attempt to recreate my products with my name on them without consent,” Vides wrote.
“I didn’t design/produce any of this. Yet my signature is on all of it. @peacebird @peacebirdmen_official thinks that [they] can do whatever they want without repercussions.”
The artist is known for his graphic monochromatic style and has worked with brands like Fendi, Nike, Converse, Ballantine’s whisky and showed last year at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
Peacebird Men is one of the main fashion lines produced by Ningbo Peacebird Fashion Co., a major Chinese clothing maker listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The company started out with Peacebird Women in 1997 and has since expanded to eight different labels. Peacebird Men alone has more than 1,500 stores in the country, according to the firm’s official website.
While Peacebird did not respond to further requests for comment from WWD, the brand disputed Vides’ narrative in a response on its official Weibo account. The brand stated that the two sides had an agreement and had paid the artist.
“We and Mr. Joshua had a clear working contract. After Mr. Joshua finished the content for us, he suddenly asked for an amount that far exceeded the original agreement. Further, [he] again and again asked for extra expenses.”
The brand confirmed that the screenshots posted of a conversation between its Instagram account and Vides is real but said it was taken out of context.
In the exchange, Vides said: “I’ve got about 50 photos from individuals, videos, emails and physical items with my name on them that you forged.”
The account replies, “U mention money. OK, how much do you need[?]”
Vides told WWD that Peacebird had reached out to his design agency Reality To Idea on a project with “Rick and Morty” to provide three designs, which was completed in November. But that the agreement differentiated between RTI and Joshua Vides.
“In the contract, it states that this is a Peacebird x Reality To Idea project and that if my name is used it can only be used it in media [outlets], to explain what Reality To Idea is–that it is a design agency brand owned by me and that’s the only reason they would be able to use my name at all,” he said.
He added that the Peacebird products out now bearing the Joshua Vides name were not part of the work RTI created but designs entirely from Peacebird.
“It almost seems like they just use the RTI contracts to be able to be like ‘No, no, we talked to him. We’re cool.’ But I have this image I’m looking at right now, a pair of socks, we never even designed these socks before…There is way more product than what we were even asked to make for them [for the work with RTI].”
Vides said he contacted the brand after receiving images of the product earlier this year but the conversations did not go anywhere. The brand went silent eventually, prompting the artist to turn to social media.
“It’s one thing to just steal it and do it,” Vides said. “Look, there’s like 50 cafes around the world that look like I painted them but my name is not on it. And I’m cool with that, go ahead. If you want to take what I do as inspiration and kind of do something similar and potentially generate dollars off of it, sure. I can send you a folder of shoes and apparel and brands and all these people that have done similar work. But my name is not on it. It’s very crazy to literally take a signature.”
Vides said he will be pushing ahead with a lawsuit against the company.