A group of Bay Area graffiti artists have filed suit against Roberto Cavalli, alleging the designer incorporated their artwork into his Graffiti collection for his secondary line, Just Cavalli. According to The Fashion Law, the artists, who call themselves Revok, Reyes, and Steel, painted a mural in San Francisco that they claim Cavalli ripped off for his designs. In court documents, they stated, “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 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.”
The tag team also complained that the collection, if we may translate from legalese, totally ruined their street cred. “Nothing is more antithetical to the outsider ‘street cred’ that is essential to graffiti artists … than association with European chic, luxury and glamour — of which Cavalli is the epitome. To anyone who recognizes their work, Plaintiffs are now wide open to charges of ‘selling out.’”
Update: When reached with a request for comment, a Roberto Cavalli spokesperson said, “In response to the recent lawsuit brought forward by artists Jason ‘Revok’ Williams,Victor ‘Reyes’ Chapa, and Jeffrey ‘Steel’ Rubin, the Roberto Cavalli company would like to state that no official notice of such suit has been received. However, we have heard of some highly inflammatory allegations, which have no basis in fact and are incorrect; we intend to contest and defend against these allegations vigorously. In order to avoid the time and expense of unnecessary litigation, we also intend to communicate with the artists’ attorneys to discuss a mutually agreeable resolution of the issues.”
Weirdly, this isn’t the only lawsuit Just Cavalli is currently facing. The brand has also been hit with allegations of logo-stealing from, of all people, the MTO School of Islamic Sufism. He may be having a lot of fun on his yacht, but this is not a good month to be Roberto Cavalli, that’s for sure.