In October last year designer Nadia Plesner started a campaign called Simple Living to raise awareness of the ongoing genocide in Darfur and to raise money for the helping organization Divest for Darfur. The thought was: Since doing nothing but wearing designerbags and small ugly dogs appearantly is enough to get you on a magazine cover, maybe it is worth a try for people who actually deserves and needs attention.
That is why Nadia choose to mix the cruel reality with showbiz elements. The result was the poster above, also available on a t-shirt.
In February this year, Nadia received a letter from Louis Vuitton’s (French fashion designer) main office in Paris, asking firmly to end the campaign immediately, as they believe one of their products is being portrayed in the art piece:
“Although we applaud your efforts to raise awareness and funds to help Darfur, a most worthy cause, we cannot help noticing that the design of the Simple Living Products includes the reproduction of a bag infringing on Louis Vuitton’s Intellectual Property Rights, in particular the Louis Vuitton Monogram Multicolore Trademark to which it is confusingly similar. We are surprised of such a promotion of a counterfeit bag.”
“As an artist yourself, we hope that you regognize the need to respect other artists’ rights and Louis Vuitton’s Intellectual Property Rights which include the Louis Vuitton Monogram Multicolore trademark.”
This is part of the answer from Nadia Plesner:
“However, I must inform You, that the bag in my drawing is inspired by – and refers to – designers bags in general – not a Louis Vuitton bag.
If you take a closer look, you will also notice, that the pattern in my drawing is not the pattern which is used in the design of a Loius Vuitton bag.
The name Louis Vuitton is in no way mentioned or referred to, neither in my drawing, nor in the campaign as such.”
Talks between the laywers of Louis Vuitton and Nadia Plesner will take place at the end of May.
Update: Although I think Nadia is sincere, the design of the handbag looks very similar to a Louis Vuitton design. See this image.
I think the design of the poster is great. It shows the ridiculous gap between rich and poor, first world and third world. Is it smart from from Louis Vuitton to make such a hassle? Is there intellectual property harmed by this campaign? I don’t think so.
Or what one of the commenters asked at Nadia’s website forum: was Andy Warhol sued for his portrayal of the Campbell’s soup cans?
What is your opinion? Please let us know in the comments.