CHOPPY WATERS: Thom Browne has responded to allegations from a Central Saint Martins fine arts student that the designer has copied the student’s work.
Ashton Attzs, who won the Evening Standard Art Prize last year, said in an Instagram post that the New York-based designer copied an original artwork depicting figures of different races swimming in lanes in a sea of blue.
“This is a blatant copy of my painting ‘Don’t Stay in Ya Lane.’ Absolutely disgusted, hurt and fuming that this has happened,” the artist wrote in an Instagram post. “Can high-profile fashion houses actually start being original rather than stealing ideas from queer, black young artists?”
Attzs was awarded the Evening Standard Art Prize in November for “Don’t Stay in Ya Lane,” which the newspaper said was created as part of a larger body of work begun in January 2018. The London paper said the work was selected from more than 1,000 entries to pick up the 10,000 pound prize, and advocates for the empowerment of LGBTQ+ community, people of color and those with intersectional identities.
A spokesman for Browne, a keen swimmer, said in a statement Monday the print in question was developed from January to March 2018 as a part of the brand’s men’s pre-spring 2019 collection, with inspirations from the Thom Browne spring 2017 season, which was shown in New York and Paris.
“The original print, as well as the shirt, does not have swimming lanes. The ‘half-drop’ arrangement of the swimmers is a brand standard that we employ to garments in every collection using seasonal themes. The swimsuits are taken from the spring 2017 women’s show, the swim caps from the spring 2017 men’s show. The artwork was done in white, blue and navy. White and navy are the brand’s standard.
“The blue that looks like that artist’s work is coincidence: This shade was chosen because it is a reference to the color of chlorine blue water. We understand that there are similarities, but it is pure coincidence. Thom and the design team had never seen the artist’s work until this week. Design integrity is a fundamental component to Thom’s practice,” the statement said.