According to a newly-filed lawsuit, Roberto Cavalli S.p.A. has angered a group of Northern California-based graffiti artists, who have sued the fashion house for allegedly copying their work and incorporating it into the brand’s “Graffiti” collection. Jason Williams, Victor Chapa, and Jeffrey Rubin (who actually go by Revok, Reyes and Steel, respectively) filed suit in the Central District of California court, claiming that Roberto Cavalli infringed their copyrights and violated the Lanham Act, stemming from a work they completed in San Francisco’s Mission district in 2012.
Their complaint states that in March, “Just Cavalli introduced a clothing and accessories collection in which every square inch of every piece (including clothing, bags, backpacks, and shoes) was adorned with graffiti art.”
The court documents go on to note: “If this literal misappropriation was not bad enough, Cavalli sometimes chose to do its own painting over that of the artists — superimposing the Just Cavalli name in spray-paint style as if were part of the original work. Sometimes, Cavalli added what appears to be a signature, creating the false impression that Roberto Cavalli himself was the artist.”
Not only are the artists asking the court to award them damages, they want Cavalli’s collection discontinued, as it is portraying them in a very unflattering light. According to the complaint, “Nothing is more antithetical to the outsider ‘street cred’ that is essential to graffiti artists … than association with European chic, luxury and glamour — of which Cavalli is the epitome. To anyone who recognizes their work, Plaintiffs are now wide open to charges of ‘selling out.’”
This is not only lawsuit that Cavalli is facing in connection with its Just Cavalli collection. You may recall that the MTO Shahmaghsoudi School of Islamic Sufism filed suit against the brand late last month for allegedly stealing the MTO’s trademarked logo and putting it front and center in the Just Cavalli fragrance campaign. According to the MTO’s complaint, which cites both federal and common law trademark infringement and trademark dilution, Lanham Act violations, and federal unfair competition, it “is informed and believes that [Roberto Cavalli] has manufactured, sourced, marketed, and/or sold substantial quantities of perfume bottles, shirts, watches, shoes, and other garments bearing the Sacred Emblem or a simulation of [its] Sacred Emblem which is virtually identical thereto.”
And in case that’s not enough, Coach is also in hot water thanks to a street art-related lawsuit. Internationally-renowned visual artist Maya Hayuk slapped an already troubled Coach, Inc. with a copyright infringement lawsuit, claiming the New York-based brand copied her “Chem Trails NYC” mural in a recent ad campaign. More to come on these cases soon …