The Battle Between Graffiti Artists and the High Culture of Fashion

Originally posted 2018-11-19 10:39:08

By Gloria Han |

Cavalli, an Italian fashion designer, used direct design by artists from the San Francisco Mission District in his 2014 Spring and Summer clothing line. Three graffiti artists, Jason Williams, Victor Chapa, and Jeffrey Rubin, filed a lawsuit against Cavalli “for copyright infringement, unfair competition, and violations of the Lanham Act (false designation claim of origin),” stated Walsh.

Below is the original mural by the graffiti artists Revok, Reyes, and Steel (Williams, Chapa, and Rubin):



It is evident that there exist many similarities between the graffiti mural and Cavalli’s collection of clothing, accessories, and shoes:



Many other graffiti artists are following suit and filing lawsuits against the high culture fashion industry. The graffiti artists repeatedly asked Cavalli to stop using their works but he refused. Instead, he has inputted his own signature “Just Cavalli” into the design of the original artwork into his collection, insinuating that the artwork was his own. Because Cavalli supposedly did not gain permission, Williams, Chapa, and Rubin claim that their artwork has been stolen from them.

The graffiti artists’ main concern is their reputation and the effect that Cavalli’s influence will have on the market of their work. Since graffiti art is founded as a counterculture, the connection between the graffiti artists’ artwork and the high fashion industry labeled them as “sell-outs”. Williams, Chapa, and Rubin sued the third party retailers that have sold Cavalli’s clothing line, Amazon, Nordstrom, and Zappos, as well.


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