H&M can’t seem to get a grip on what’s okay, and what’s flat out just not cool. Looking at the “coolest monkey in the jungle.” To blatantly ripping off high fashion brands like Yeezy, Fear of god, Vetements, or whatever hipster look is popular at the time. Now they have managed to get on graffiti writers bad side but this is would have been the biggest lawsuit since counterfeits online.
This week the major retailer issued a lawsuit against Jason “revok” Williams for sending a cease and desist letter telling them to take down a campaign ad they posted on Instagram. They responded with ‘Since graffiti is illegal he has no copyright ownership over the work’. Honestly it sounds like H&M is taking a final stand and they might have choose the right time. With this lawsuit it changes the way we look at copyright laws when it comes to graffiti because its raw, organic, rebellious, and mainly illegal. If H&M followed through would have changed merchandising forever.
Media, fashion, and art will change forever on one side your things like TV, movies and fashion who win from this. All the graffiti in this world that’s characters, collections, advertising, all in one.
On the artist’s side its all lose because its someone stealing your work that you took the risks for, you put for the effort to finish the project. Street art expert Roger Gastman calls it “ a threat to artists rights.” Which is exactly what it is. If Revok lost this case it would honestly be no point in being a graffiti artist except for pure passion. Fellow street artist like KAWS or standing with him but Revok put it into perfect words himself saying “ H&M sees value in my work, but sees no value in me…” . This does open the door for artist and fashion designers to become one, but this would pretty much be controlling the artist. Same thing as a musician signing to a label.
H&M responded to all the backlash they’ve been receiving saying “ We should have acted differently in our approach to this matter. It was never our intention to set a precedent concerning public art or to influence the debate of the legality of street art.” They only decided to drop the lawsuit because in the long run if your entire company is based on high fashion being affordable the last thing you would want to do is piss of the people with the ideas that you rip off.
From a strictly financial point of view this was huge for companies period, but sometimes the money isn’t worth it and for H&M’s sake it was smart to get off this dogs back. Maybe we’ll see this again next time the suit won’t be dropped. For now let me know what you guys think below is this apology heartfelt or should H&M have stuck to their guns and kept fighting? Morally wrong or right.