A visual artist named Kesh is accusing Italian designer Versace of ripping off a t-shirt design she made for American Apparel back in 2013. Kesh, an English artist now based in Los Angeles, is known for her abstract, black-and-white designs. We love Kesh’s stuff. It’s fun and different, and you definitely know a Kesh piece when you see one. Here she is rocking one of her designs at Coachella a few years ago: Earlier last week, she came across an all too familiar t-shirt being sold by Versace. She posted a side by side visual of the two designs on her Instagram account (hers is on the left), and let us just say, it doesn’t seem to be looking too good for Versace… It isn’t Kesh’s first time having some copyright issues with her designs. In an interview with The Huffington Post, she said that since American Apparel started selling the shirt, she has seen plenty of “cheap Chinese knockoffs.” But, when she saw that Versace was selling a strikingly similar shirt for a whopping $600, she had to come out and say something. Our biggest issue with this shirt, after the whole copyright issue of course, is the price tag. A $600 t-shirt? Really, Versace?! Even though Kesh usually tries to ignore copycat designers, she couldn’t turn her head once she saw this Versace design. “This is too close, way too obvious. They barely changed it,” she told Huffington Post. She took to her social media accounts earlier this week to give Versace a piece of her mind.
You can’t deny the similarities between the designs. Kesh’s abstract American Apparel design was a hit with customers and celebrities alike: Cara Delevingne, Jessie J, and Wiz Khalifa have all been seen sporting her designs. According to Kesh, this Versace debacle is revealing a bigger issue that affects all artists: copyright infringement.
Brands like Urban Outfitters and Zara have also come under fire for stealing designs from artists. “The legal system has so many loopholes that aren’t in favor of an artist. To sue everyone would be a huge waste of time, money and energy,” said Kesh in her interview with the Huffington Post.
But, she still plans to pursue the Versace case and sees it as a good example of why there should be stricter copyright laws regarding an artist or designer’s unique work.
What would be the best solution to this problem in Kesh’s eyes? “Credit. Compensation. Collaboration. Anything is better than this. I have always admired Versace. I can only hope this ends well,” she told The Huffington Post. We couldn’t agree any more!