The artist Banksy calls for shoplifting in the clothing store Guess
UK-based street and performance artist Banksy has accused clothing manufacturer Guess of stealing his work and is calling on people to steal from the retailer’s Regent Street store in London.
“Shoplifters beware,” Banksy wrote in a recent Instagram post. “Please go to Guess on Regent Street. They have used my artwork without asking, how can it be wrong to do the same with their clothes?”
Banksy, whose identity remains anonymous, claims the American clothing brand released a capsule collection of garments featuring his designs, including his ‘Flower Thrower’ motif, without his permission. The items cost between $47 and $319 each, according to a Guess press release.
Paul Marciano, Guess’ chief creative officer, said the collection is “a way for fashion to show its gratitude to the artist.”
Featuring iconic Banksy motifs on men’s, women’s and children’s pieces, the collection is available online and in stores across the European Union. In a press release announcing the collection, Guess said it was “inspired by Banksy’s graffiti.”
Guess has partnered with Brandalised, a licensing company that secures the rights to famous graffiti designs and sells them to fans via partnerships with commercial brands, to launch the collection.
Neither company responded to CBS MoneyWatch’s request for comment.
On Tuesday, responding to erroneous reports that the retail outlet had temporarily closed its doors over the Banksy controversy, a clerk at Guess’s Regent Street store said: “We’re open and we’ve never closed.”
Guess Clothing released a collection featuring iconic motifs on men’s, women’s and children’s pieces by anonymous street artist Banksy. The artist claims his designs are being used by the American clothing brand without his permission. Guess
right to anonymity
In 2020, the artist’s application for the “Flower Thrower” trademark was rejected by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) because copyright protection would have required him to reveal his secret identity.
But a 2021 EUIPO decision invalidating Banky’s trademark on a spray-painted work of a chimpanzee with a sign reading ‘Laugh Now But One Day We’ll Be In Charge’ was overturned this month by a European Board of Appeal repealed. This was reported by the industry news agency ArtNews.
The victory gives the artist the right to license his work while maintaining his anonymity.
It’s unclear if Guess and Brandalised are authorized to sell clothes featuring Banksy’s designs, but the silence from both companies suggests they may not have a deal with the artist to license his work, according to William Miles, a UK based designer resident copyright and trademark attorney.
“The fact that Banksy told people to steal from Guess and he said they took his artwork suggests they weren’t authorized to license it,” Miles told CBS MoneyWatch. “It’s odd that Guess did this, knowing full well that it would generate a lot of bad publicity.”