Jeremy Scott has made his name and grown a loyal following for pushing the envelope — but the current situation he’s dealing with is less enfant terrible and more, well, illegal. A lawsuit has been lodged against Scott and Moschino, where the designer has been creative director since October 2013, by street artist Joseph Tierney, who goes by the name Rime. Scott is being accused of copying one of Rime’s designs and using it in prominently on a Moschino fall 2015 look. The gown in contention was modeled by Gigi Hadid in the show, which took place in Milan in February, and it got even more play when Katy Perry wore it to the Met Ball. Rime, who lives in (and hails from) New York, created the 2012 piece "Vandal Eyes" in Detroit for arts organization Seventh Letter — watch it being made in this video. In addition to Scott’s use of "Vandal Eyes," the suit accuses the designer of putting Rime’s signature onto some of the pieces in his Moschino collection. Besides cribbing Rime’s work, Scott is being accused of modifying the design by overlaying logoed tags: “Moschino and Jeremy Scott did their own painting over that of the artist, superimposing the Moschino and Jeremy Scott brand names in spray-paint style as if part of the original work,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles. The suit also alleges that Scott has hurt Rime’s reputation: “The only person harmed was Rime...his credibility as a graffiti artist was compromised by inclusion in such a crass and commercial publicity stunt.”
Moschino reps have yet to respond to our requests for comment. So what does Rime hope to get out of the suit? To get paid, and handsomely so, of course — no word so far on how massive a sum it would be to settle — and for Moschino to stop selling the items bearing Rime’s work and signature. This isn’t the first time that Jeremy Scott has gotten in trouble for copyright infringement. In 2013, Santa Cruz Skate sued Scott, settling out of court. Other designers have also gotten in trouble for lifting from graffiti artists: Roberto Cavalli was sued in August 2014 by three San Francisco street artists — Jason Williams, Victor Chapa, and Jeffrey Rubin — for doing an entire collection splashed with the trio’s work.
Other recent incidents have involved lower-end brands and artists’ work used without permission in ads instead of on clothing. In August 2014, Coach and singer Sara Bareilles were sued, separately, for $150,000 apiece, by Brooklyn-based artist Maya Hayuk. Coach was accused of taking pictures of its wares in front of Hayuk's colorful mural "Chem Trails NYC" and using the photos on its site, and Bareilles got in trouble for shooting a video and photos for her album The Blessed Unrest, as well as an ad campaign, in front of the mural without the artist’s consent. A month earlier, Miami street artist Ahol Sniffs Glue filed a suit against American Eagle Outfitters for shooting ads in front of one of his murals and for using his “lazy eyeball” theme in various marketing materials.