It's been three weeks since the Gucci, the Italian fashion house now recognized for making artisan-looking kitsch high-fashion, faced widespread criticism for copying an iconic design by Harlem couturier Daniel Day, known professionally as Dapper Dan. (Gucci later issued a statement saying that the jacket in question was, in fact, an "homage" to Day, and claimed that the brand originally tried to contact him, "so far without success," in the interest of a collaboration.) But where one controversy has cooled off, another two have arisen in its place. On Wednesday afternoon, WWD reported that two graphic designers from New Zealand and Australia are claiming that Gucci has copied their designs, too, with versions of their logos appearing on items like T-shirts and tote bags; the artists claim that they've been trying to contact Gucci for weeks.
The first piece in question is a solid white tee worn by several models throughout the show, as well as by creative director Alessandro Michele during the finale, with the words "Guccify yourself" splayed in a halo above a knotted serpent. While the snake motif has become quite common for Gucci since Michele took the helm, it's the physical logo that's coming under fire.
Bali-based New Zealand artist Stuart Smythe argues that Gucci copied a logo he designed in 2014 for his CLVL Apparel Co. clothing brand, which, according to WWD, has yet to launch. In an Instagram post from four days ago, Smythe wrote 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." Note the lightning bolts spewing out of the snake's mouth and the white fleck in the upper-left corner of the letter "R."
The second artist to come forward is self-taught graphic designer and freelance illustrator Milan Chagoury, who creates tees, sweatshirts and assorted small goods with the Australian label Stay Bold. Chagoury told WWD that he believes Gucci has stolen a logo — of a tiger, rather than a lion — that he designed in 2015 for the White Tiger Tattoo Co. tattoo parlor, off Australia's Sunshine Coast. He alleges that Gucci has repurposed his logo for a tote bag, which features a comparable font and composition to Chagoury's version. WWD reports that Chagoury owns the rights to the artwork.
In an image of the Gucci tote on Instagram, users are tagging Stay Bold and leaving accusatory comments, such as: "YOU KNOW GUCCI DELETING THESE COMMENTS RIGHT? SNAPSHOT, REPOST MAKE EM REGRET THIS." In Chagoury's own Instagram testimonial, he wrote: "It's ok to be inspired but there are an infinite ways of representing a concept and being original is a key way of standing out in this business."
A representative for Gucci declined to comment to Fashionista, but a spokesperson for the company released the following to WWD:
The Gucci cruise 2018 collection saw a continuation of 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.
Additionally, both Smythe and Chagoury told WWD that Gucci had reached out to them individually "offering the possibility of a future collaboration"; according to Chagoury, the partnership was conditional under an NDA. "I'm not interested after what's happened. They didn't respond to me for weeks," he said to WWD. "This is them covering [up] a massive wrongdoing in the art and design community and in the fashion industry full stop." Smythe — who is now reportedly represented by Houston, Texas-based attorney Tyler Branson — reported that he has no plans to work with Gucci, either.
It's interesting to note that this follows a similar, if not nearly identical, pattern to what occurred with Day less than a month prior. We'll update this post as this story develops.