Banksy has hit out at clothes retailer Guess, claiming the company has used his designs without permission.
Banksy’s Instagram post
The graffiti artist posted a photo of the Regent Street store in London, and suggested shoplifters should visit. “Attention all shoplifters. Please go to Guess on Regent Street. They’ve helped themselves to my artwork without asking, how can it be wrong for you to do the same to their clothes?” he wrote on Instagram on Friday.
The post carries an image of the store display, which features a reproduction of the Flower Thrower, one of Banksy’s most iconic murals created in 2003.
View this post on Instagram
According to Guess, the brand was advertising a new collection “featuring Banksy graffiti”. The company said the collection was created in collaboration with Brandalised, which licenses designs by graffiti artists.
Speaking last month about the collection, Guess chief creative officer Paul Marciano said: “The graffiti of Banksy has had a phenomenal influence that resonates throughout popular culture. “This new capsule collection with Brandalised is a way for fashion to show its gratitude.”
However, after the post by Banksy went viral, Guess closed the Regent Street location to shoppers, covered up the window display and beefed-up security, Reuters reported.
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Can the brand use his work?
According to BBC, copyright lawyer Liz Ward said Guess “appear to have legitimately sourced the Banksy artwork via a third party, namely Brandalised, who say they have rights to commercialise and use Banksy’s artwork on goods”.
She said: “It isn’t known if Banksy approved or even knew about this deal. If he did know about it, then perhaps his comments are there to create some kind of guerrilla marketing campaign. If he didn’t know about it, then he must be quite annoyed, especially as such mainstream companies and brands don’t accord with his anti-establishment views.
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