Graffiti artists’ works are becoming commercially valuable and the artists are increasingly asserting their rights. A British graffiti artist’s complaint against a New York-based fashion boutique seems to be part of a trend in today’s legal disputes. As published by Bloomberg BNA, Partner Eugene Rome filed a lawsuit on behalf of British graffiti artist Mark Allsop, also known as “Malarko Hernandez” and “Malarky”, for violation of right of publicity and infringement against high-end active wear boutique Bandier. Although both parties previously discussed a potential collaboration, Malarky was unsatisfied with the approaches taken by Bandier, and they never reached an agreement. Bandier went ahead with the fashion line without Malarky’s authorization and began marketing the line under the name “Malarko Hernandez x Ultracor.”
Mr. Rome expressed to Bloomberg BNA that Bandier had to come to Malarky with a proposal, and it seemed that they had already started creating mock-ups using images taken of his existing work. “Bandier went ahead with the fashion line even though there was no final deal,” Mr. Rome commented.
With street art gaining the attention in the art industry, similar cases have escalated due to fashion houses failing to recognize the legitimate interests of graffiti artists the way they would recognize any other artist within the industry.