Welcome to the battle of fashion vs. art. In the ring we have Fashion brand Moschino along with creative director and designer, Jeremy Scott, vs. Brooklyn-based graffiti artist, Joseph Tierney, aka RIME. Moschino and Scott are being sued for stealing RIME’s artwork for their Fall 2015 line. The artwork in question is a piece RIME did in Detroit back in 2012 called “Vandal Eyes”. Scott is being accused of lifting an exact copy of the piece and adding it to his Fall 2015 collection. He is also accused of modifying the design by adding his and Moschino’s own brand names over the original artwork and forging RIME’s signature throughout the collection. Scott claims that “as a matter of public policy and basic logic, it would make no sense to grant legal protection to work that is created entirely illegally. Brazen and willful violations of the law cannot, and, indeed, should not result in the award of copyright privileges.” As for forging RIME’s signature, he claims that is was “to create an urban feel” to the line. Different reports claim whether RIME actually had permission to create the piece of artwork. Some claimed he didn’t have permission while others say he was invited by the property owner himself to create his artwork. Tierney claims that “The only person harmed was Rime...his credibility as a graffiti artist was compromised by inclusion in such a crass and commercial publicity stunt.”
Scott’s entire argument is that graffiti is an act of vandalism, and should not be protected by law, however, this isn’t the first time Scott has been accused of stealing artwork. Back in early 2013, Scott was accused of stealing skateboard designs from the California skate company, Santa Cruz for his Fall/Winter 2013 collection. The case was eventually settled outside of court over half a year later, with Scott admitting to his mistake.
So what are your thoughts? Is Scott in the right of taking the piece, or is he just a talentless plagiarizer that can’t create his own artwork? We may not know the outcome for Scott vs. RIME, but what we do know is that the battle between fashion and art has a long way to go. Take a look here at the collection in question, and check out the making of “Vandal Eyes” below.