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Graffiti Artists Suing Roberto Cavalli for Using their Street Art

27 February 2015

Graffiti Artists Suing Roberto Cavalli for Using their Street Art

Roberto Cavalli finds itself once again in the middle of a huge scandal.

After it was accused of using a Sufi Muslim symbol in a Just Cavalli fragrance campaign just last year, the Italian fashion house is yet again hit hard.

Three artists – Jason “Revok” Williams, Victor “Reyes” Chapa and Jeffrey “Steel” Rubin, part of the Mad Society Kings graffiti crew, briefly known as MSK, are throwing the bomb.

The story begins last year in August 2014 when the artists accused the fashion house for copyright infringement, unfair competition and false designation of origin regarding Just Cavalli’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection.

What happened is this: the collection features a series of clothing and accessories with a graffiti twist and although it is not easily recognizable, with the help of high-resolution photography the three artists identified pieces from one of their large-murals located on a building in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Graffiti Artists suing Roberto Cavalli for Using their Artwork | Image Source: lastreetartgallery.com
Graffiti Artists suing Roberto Cavalli for Using their Artwork | Image Source: lastreetartgallery.com

Even worse than that, the artists claim that Cavalli stole even “stylized signature from the Mural” that state for their own names and featured them in the collection.

And the crew didn’t stop there, they not only accused Cavalli in the court, but also a line of retailers including Nordstrom, Amazon.com and Zappos.com because they distributed the pieces featuring their original work as they explaind:

a clothing and accessories collection in which every square inch of every piece (including clothing, bags, backpacks, and shoes) was adorned with graffiti art

Graffiti Artists suing Roberto Cavalli for Using their Artwork | Image Source: www.itslavida.com
Graffiti Artists suing Roberto Cavalli for Using their Artwork | Image Source: www.itslavida.com

And the worst part of it all is that the graffiti crew and their lawyers are convinced that the Italian fashion house knew exactly what it was doing and even tried to take credit for all the artwork as they stated:

If the literal misappropriation was not bad enough, Cavalli sometimes chose to do its own painting, superimposing the Just Cavalli name in spray-paint style as if were part of the original work, […] creating the false impression that Roberto Cavalli himself was the artist.

Graffiti Artists suing Roberto Cavalli for Using their Artwork | Image Source: www.amdlawgroup.com
Graffiti Artists suing Roberto Cavalli for Using their Artwork | Image Source: www.amdlawgroup.com

Of course, the label responded and released a statement to bring down all the accusation, saying that:

We have heard of some highly inflammatory allegations, which have no basis in fact and are incorrect; we intend to contest and defend against these allegations vigorously.

Graffiti Artists suing Roberto Cavalli for Using their Artwork | Image Source: www.brooklynstreetart.com
Graffiti Artists suing Roberto Cavalli for Using their Artwork | Image Source: www.brooklynstreetart.com

Also, the brand states that the graffiti crew was incapable of identifying any specific elements in the collection that prove Cavalli copied and further used it in their line. And their version of the story is that Cavalli didn’t copy the artists’ work, but instead was inspired by the mural.

According to Judge Birotte, the case will go to trial so justice shall eventually be done.

Or is it? Unfortunately, lately there have been numerous scandals regarding graffiti and fashion brands. Numerous artists accused the labels for stealing their artwork and using it in their collections or campaigns and the excuse always seems to be the inspiration.

But we’ll find out soon who is rolling the dices: graffiti or fashion?

Graffiti Artists suing Roberto Cavalli for Using their Artwork | Image Source: www.buro247.ru
Graffiti Artists suing Roberto Cavalli for Using their Artwork | Image Source: www.buro247.ru

Who do you think is right with what they state?

Whose side are you on and why?

Tell us in the comments below and don’t forget to share it further!