Is H&M’s Graffiti Scandal Apology Too Little Too Late?
In the past year, H&M has been continuously rebuked for foul play, from allegedly copying designs from high-end labels such as Vetements, to sending the Internet ablaze over its “coolest monkey in the jungle” hoodie design. Now, the fast fashion giant has landed under fire for issuing a lawsuit against street artist Jason “REVOK” Williams. The lawsuit was a response to a cease and desist letter sent by Williams requesting H&M remove an ad campaign featuring his street art. On the grounds that the art was considered a product of criminal conduct, the lawsuit shot back, “Mr. Williams has no copyright rights to assert.” While H&M’s hoodie design may have been tacked up to gross oversight, this street art controversy is direct action on H&M’s part and in fact, the most serious action a company can take: issuing a lawsuit. H&M’s response has ignited leading artists, including KAWS, Daniel Arsham, STASH and legendary NYC-based graffiti collective TATS CRU, who have all denounced the lawsuit, identifying the move as a direct target on artist’s rights. The backlash erupted when acclaimed American curator, author and street art expert Roger Gastman shared a post on Instagram this past Wednesday relaying the global artist community sees H&M’s lawsuit as “a threat to artist’s rights.” Unwittingly, H&M waged war and its legal action had far-reaching implications for the debate over the legality of street art. Read more at Hypebeast.