This is an oldie, but a true goodie when it comes to looking through the lens of fashion law. If you are remotely familiar with skateboarding culture, you know the names Jim and Jimbo Phillips. The father and son duo are the skate deck artists for Santa Cruz skateboards, and their iconic designs have a strong following throughout the skate community and beyond.
Apparently, fashion designer Jeremy Scott wasn’t too clued in on their icon status when he decided to sample the art for his 2013 fashion collection. Of course, not many skaters attend NY fashion runway shows, but needless to say- EVERYONE quickly caught on and cried foul on Scott’s move. Scott frequently taps into similar graphic icons, such as when he licensed Bart Simpson and used the image on a $500 sweater in his 2012 collection. But this one went too far on the uncompensated inspiration scale.
When Jimbo dug a little further, he realized that Scott had used several of their designs throughout his collection without any permission or heads up whatsoever. Some called it “wholesale theft” others cried “nostalgic tribute,” but when it comes to intellectual property most will likely say Scott’s decision to bypass a licensing agreement for the images (although Jimbo admits that he would have never agreed to the collaboration), is a good example of what NOT to do when sampling art from those who have come before you.
Bottom line: There is a very fine line between inspirational art and straight up infringement, so make sure you play nice when sampling art from others and always give credit when its due (a good rule to follow in any aspect of life).