Artists Accuse Gucci of Copying Designs

Photo: Latest Gucci designs to come under fire. Photo: Pietro D’Aprano/Gettu Images.

Gucci has been under fire over the past several months, as a flurry of artists accuse the legendary fashion house of plagiarism. The most recent troubles arose last week as WWD reported that New Zealand artist Stuart Smythe and Australian graphic designer and illustrator Milan Chagoury claim the Italian giant copied their logos for its Resort 2018 collection.

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The design in question is a logo with a twisted snake in the center of circle that says “Guccify Yourself.” It would be a bad look for anyone to rep, since it suggests that the essence of Gucci is intellectual property theft.

In an Instagram post dated June 17, Smythe shows the designs side by side, which makes it clear the Gucci new Gucci logo bears striking similarity to the one he created for CLVL Apparel Co. in 2014.

In the caption, Smythe writes, “Iv kept this quite for a little while, But its time to speak up and get some attention. Its pretty easy to see that @gucci Has copied not only the combination of elements together that create this logo, but when I overlay my snake illustration on top of the copy, the scales even line up perfectly. Its easy to prove and see whats going on here. Its a shame large corporations ‘Take’ What belongs to us indie artists and use it for their own profit margins.”

Milan Chagoury, who designs for Stay Bold, took to Instagram on June 13 to show how Gucci co-opted his logo design for the same collection. Again, the logos appear side by side, showing just close the copy is. Chagoury writes, “You know your doing something right when even @gucci rip your stuff. When designing for a business (band or brand) make sure you hire a professional designer as most of the time these guys are just ripping off someone else’s work with no guilt at all.”

A Gucci rep told WWD, “The Gucci Cruise 2018 collection saw a continuation of [creative director] Alessandro Michele’s exploration of faux-real culture with a series of pieces playing on the Gucci logo, under the themes of ‘Guccification’ and ‘Guccify Yourself.’ A creative exchange with street style and street vernacular using graphics and words that have been ‘Guccified.’ In the last two-and-a-half years Gucci has defined itself through a series of creative collaborations that have arisen organically, symbolizing a generational shift. Also in this instance, we are now in direct contact with the respective talents.”

WWD reports that Gucci got in touch with the artists after they began writing the story, offering “the possibility of a future collaboration” if Smythe and Chagoury were willing to sign a NDA.

The artists declined the offer and are now pursuing legal action against the fashion giant, who has come under fire in recent months for similar acts of plagiarism.

Two months ago, Pierre-Louis Auvray, a BA student at Central Saint Martins, accused Gucci of ripping off his work for their Fall 2017 campaign teasers, taking to Instagram to make the accusation.

In an exclusive interview, Michele told Business of Fashion that it simply wasn’t true, stating, “It’s about my memories, so movies from the 70s [such as Star Trek and Lost in Space] that I saw many times.”

He then became defensive and added, “The idea that I’m 45 doesn’t mean that I have no creativity. I’m like a student, it’s the same, it’s not a war!”

And yet, the claims continue to roll in, with the most high profile accusation coming from Olympian Diane Dixon. She, too, took to Instagram to expose the copycat actions of the Italian house, with paying credit where credit is due with the caption, “When @dapperdanharlem is your inspiration #GucciResort18 Bravo Dapper Bravo #Harlem #gucci next collaboration ?”

Miss Rosen is a journalist covering art, photography, culture, and books. Her byline has appeared in L’Uomo Vogue, Vogue Online, The Undefeated, Dazed Digital, Aperture Online, and Feature Shoot. Follow her on Twitter @Miss_Rosen.