A group called Anonymous has waged war on Louis Vuitton, declaring that its harsh stance on copyright infringement denies artists their creative freedom. The protestors have launched Operation Skankbag to fight on behalf of artists targeted by Louis Vuitton, including Danish student Nadia Plesner.
Fashion fans may remember Plesner, who three years ago fought to use the image of a Louis Vuitton Audra bag on a charity T-shirt and poster. She hoped the graphic of an African boy carrying the Louis Vuitton bag and a chihuahua pup might raise awareness of the genocide in Darfur. The compelling artwork reminded us that we live in a society where tiny dogs and designer bags seem to matter more than such pressing human issues. It also reminded us that Louis Vuitton seems to like few things better than a good lawsuit.
The case was eventually dropped when Plesner realized she had several years of legal proceedings to battle through, a daunting prospect for any student. But it raised the question: should Louis Vuitton really stop an artist making a powerful statement for charity, or indeed for the sake of art? It's easy to argue that the image would have lost its potency without the image of the LV bag. Plesner donated sales of her tees and posters, so she didn't profit from the fashion house's hard work. She also wasn’t encroaching on Louis Vuitton's market, as she sold T-shirts rather than handbags.
Operation Skankbag looks to hit Louis Vuitton where it hurts by devaluing the brand. The group will buy fake Louis Vuitton bags and give them to the homeless, paint anti-LV graffiti, and generally spread negativity about the fashion house. I'm not sure this group's efforts can really chip away at this prestigious label, but you can't blame a group of creative vigilantes for trying to take on the big guys.
Whose side are you on?
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