Banksy took to Instagram to call out popular clothing brand GUESS who, according to him, ‘helped themselves’ to his artwork for their latest collection. The US clothing brand has advertised a new collection "with graffiti by Banksy".
Banksy posted an image to instagram showing the campaign window for the GUESS store in London with text saying: s “Attention all shoplifters. Please go to GUESS on Regent Street. They’ve helped themselves to my artwork without asking, how can it be wrong for you to do the same to their clothes?”
After the message was posted by the artist Guess closed the store to the public and covered up the window display. Security has also been placed outside the location. The BBC approached staff from the store for comment but they declined.
Speaking about the collection last month Guess chief creative officer Paul Marciano said: "The graffiti of Banksy has had a phenomenal influence that resonates throughout popular culture. This new capsule collection with Brandalised is a way for fashion to show its gratitude."
Copyright lawyer Liz Ward, founder of Virtuoso Legal, told the BBC that Guess "appear to have legitimately sourced the Banksy artwork via a third party, namely Brandalised, who say they have rights to commercialise and use Banksy’s artwork on goods".
She said: "It isn’t known if Banksy approved or even knew about this deal. If he did know about it, then perhaps his comments are there to create some kind of guerrilla marketing campaign. If he didn’t know about it, then he must be quite annoyed, especially as such mainstream companies and brands don’t accord with his anti-establishment views.
Banksy’s representatives have declined to comment further, and the company Brandalised has also not commented on the current situation.
Banksy recently won an appeal to allow him to keep the trademark of one of his most famous images, a monkey wearing a sandwich board, at the EU Intellectual Property Office.
Banksy also revealed this month (November 2022) that he had visited Ukraine and created seven new pieces. These new artworks include a woman in rollers and a gas mask holding a fire extinguisher, and a Vladimir Putin lookalike being thrown to the floor by a child in a judo match.