Another day, another major label ripping off an independent artist's design.
Yesterday, Gucci presented their FALL 2016 RTW collection, and what a spectacle it was. As a longtime advocate of Gucci's menswear, I've always held Gucci to a certain esteem. They're a brand that's lasted the test of time, and continue to reinvent themselves season after season.
In a conversation on Sunday, Gucci’s Alessandro Michele described a multilayered collection encompassing, he said, “some of my passions.” Street style, the Renaissance, the Seventies, “and a little injection of some chic points of the Eighties." Grounding the visual euphoria: a decided street beat. The decorative gentleness of Michele’s past collections, one might have missed, has been there all along. To drive home the point definitively for fall, he enlisted Brooklyn-based artist Trevor Andrew (aka GucciGhost), who has built his artistic persona based on his longtime obsession with Gucci iconography.
It was all fanciful, fun and abundant — perhaps too much so. One handbag featured the word “Real” graffiti-ed on black leather above the Gucci moniker (pictured above). Herein lies the problem - there's already another designer/artist that has been using this concept and getting profound notoriety for it (pictured below).
Handbag designer/artist, SoniqueSaturday has been in business since 2009, creating revolutionary concepts that have gained her a lot of attention from Hollywood. Her most notable design came in the form of the "You Fake Like This Birkin" handbag, worn by Amber Rose, the same day as her twitter beef with Khloe Kardashian.
On Sonique's website, you'll find all types of clever taglines, artistically splattered across the front of faux designer bags. Some of our favorites include, "You use to by me real Dior", "I Lost My Real Dior", and "FAKE HERMES".
After Gucci posted a picture of the "REAL GUCCI" bag on their instagram, there was a battle in the comment section below - which included demands for proper recognition, race wars and a call for legal action against Gucci.
Gucci is a large fashion house, and there are A LOT of moving parts - unfortunately, things like this happen more often than I'd like. In this situation, I don't blame Gucci for the plagiarized work - I blame the artist, Trevor Andrew. In my research of his artwork, he's never done any pieces like the one presented for Gucci Fall 2016. Even on his vine in the days leading up to the show, there were no "REAL GUCCI" concepts displayed anywhere (see pictures below). I believe Andrew saw Sonique's work via social media, and thought it was a cool concept, and since he was working with the actual brand, he decided to use "REAL" instead of "FAKE". Therefore my issue is with the artist and not with Gucci.
Lastly, this wasn't the first time this has happened, and it won't be the last. Artist like Sonique have had their concepts and ideas ripped off for larger fashion houses for years. It's one of the downsides of being an independent artist. But as a fashion community we have to learn to support small businesses like Sonique's, so that they can use their platform to WORK WITH fashion brands like Gucci.
Furthermore, artist have to look out for artist. It only takes a simple tweet, DM or e-mail to get in contact with Sonique and say, " I love the concept of your bag(s), I'm working with Gucci, and I have this idea - would you mind collaborating with me on this?". And as a new artist, I'm sure Sonique would've been on the first flight. Artist comradery is so detrimental in age where social media can carry your designs to parts of the world you never thought you'd reach.
However, don't be confused Sonique is a smart girl, and this publicity is GREAT for her brand! We hope she starts selling, "FAKE GUCCI" or "You Fake Like ANDREW" bags - we'd definitely be rocking those all summer long.
Se a gallery of our FAVORITE bags from Sonique below:
That's all for now.