San Francisco Street Artists Sue Roberto Cavalli Over Its Graffiti-Inspired Collection

Three California-based street artists are suing Roberto Cavalli SpA, alleging that the Italian fashion label’s Just Cavalli spring 2014 collection copies a San Francisco mural that the trio completed in 2012. According to a Women's Wear Daily report, Jason Williams, Victor Chapa, and Jeffrey Rubin, known by the tags Revok, Reyes, and Steel, are seeking damages and restitution of all profits received from the apparel and accessories.

The suit even goes so far as to suggest that association with Roberto Cavalli will negatively affect the artists’ future careers, alleging that the plaintiffs "are now wide open to the charges of 'selling out.'"

In their filing, they position themselves as having the same copyright protections afforded all artists: “If this literal misappropriation was not bad enough, Cavalli sometimes chose to do its own painting over that of the artists--superimposing the Just Cavalli name in spray-paint style as if it were part of the original work. Sometimes, Cavalli added what appears to be a signature, creating the false impression that Roberto Cavalli himself was the artist.”

Photo via Reyes78

The work at the heart of the dispute appeared on Mission Street in San Francisco in January 2012. It features tumbling, tightly wound black and white knots, with a splash of rainbow colors running along the sidewalk. Just Cavalli’s leather jacket and other items from the collection bear a striking resemblance.

Cavalli, which is in the process of selling a $1.1 billion majority stake in its business, told Women’s Wear Daily it had yet to receive official notice of the suit, questioning the artists’ claims, and promising to fight the allegations.

[h/t Women’s Wear Daily]

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6 Comments

  • Roberto Cavalli has also copied a Trademarks Sufi Emblem for his just cavalli logo. There is a huge campaign by sufi students on Twitter. #takeoffjustlogo.

    Its disgusting that some who has money can just steal other people’s designs and right. Lets hope both groups get justice.

  • Nat Mouncey

    The question of legality may become whether the art is protected because it was done in public space. You can photograph anything in the public domain. The question is what you can legally do with it? Is it a scumbag move? Of course it is. And as an artist it sucks that Cavalli is not respecting other peoples work. But is it actionable? And can a couple street artists afford to legally go after a huge fashion ouse with pretty limitless resources to protect itself.

  • treblemanagement

    Nat, whether in public space or private space, all original works are protected by copyright laws. Period. There are no exceptions.