On the heels of the Spring 2014 collections, we came across something very interesting. Around this time a couple of years ago, designer Risto Bimbiloski noticed some similarity between his Spring 2011 collection and Dries Van Noten's spring 2012 collection, and subsequently called out his fellow Paris-based designer for copying (and ran the image below on his blog). Some quick background: Risto is a Paris-based womenswear brand that was founded in 2006 by Risto Bimbiloski. The collection often boasts exclusive prints thanks to collaborations with various artists. Prior to setting up shop, Macedonia-born Bimbiloski worked in knitwear positions for Mugler, Louis Vuitton and Facconable, and he currently serves as the head knitwear designer at Kenzo. Belgan-born Dries needs little introduction. He is an internationally celebrated womenswear designer, whose work is characterized by use of prints, colors, original fabrics and layering.
At issue: the prints utilized in Risto's Spring 2011 collection and those in Van Noten's Spring 2012 collection. Turns out, for S/S 2011, Risto enlisted the help of photographer James Reeve, as he does somewhat regularly. London-born, France-based Reeve created a print quite clearly based on his "Lightscapes" series of images (which were included in the Hyères International Festival of Fashion & Photography in 2010) for Risto's Spring 2011 collection. Interestingly enough, Reeve told Another Mag in October 2011 that Dries commissioned him to create prints based on the same "Lightscapes" series for his Spring 2011 collection, and Reeve did just that. In addition to printing serval of Reeve's images on fabric, Reeve told the magazine: "Dries printed one of my images onto traditionally developed transparency film for the invitation."
It's worth questioning who is to blame here, as there may be (or at least there may have been, depending on French statutes of limitations) a copyright infringement case here. Is Dries to blame for potentially copying Risto's idea? There is, of course, a chance he thought of it on his own. Maybe Riston is to blame for not foreseeing such copying and including some language in the Reeve's contract that he would not provide similar consulting/commission services or license similar works to other designers with a given time frame? Lastly, Reeve could certainly be to blame for potentially not disclosing his work with Risto to Dries (I have no idea if he did or did not disclose such work to Dries)? Tell us your thoughts!