Pitting the OGs against the gentrified, the brown girls against the white, the Eastside and the Westside, the cholos versus the hipsters, it's the lawsuit you've all been waiting for.
Lawyers for photographer and director Estevan Oriol announced today that he's suing retail giant H&M and Italian, L.A.-inspired clothing maker and chain store Brandy Melville for allegedly appropriating his 1995 image, “L.A. Fingers,” and selling it via tops for women.
According to a statement from Oriol:
Oriol's lawsuits contend that both H&M and Brandy Melville grossly infringed
on his protected artistic work by using his “LA Hands” photograph to create a derivative and substantially similar image that is used on one or more of H&M and Brandy Melville's T-Shirts – items that have been sold and continue to be sold in their respective retail stores worldwide.
If you put my photograph side-by-side with their re-creation of my image, anyone would tell you they are one in the same … they clearly copied my image.
Oriol's shot was used for his own clothing line in 2006. The suit against H&M, obtained by the Weekly, alleges it used a “recreated image” “derivative of the 'L.A. Fingers' photograph.”
The suit against Melville alleges much of the same, and says a top it has been selling in stores and online is also “derivative” of “L.A. Fingers.”
Interestingly, the brand has other versions of the L.A. symbol and even sells “Thug Life” iPhone covers and “Doin Hoodrat Thangs” tops, making the gangster lifestyle safe and fashionable for hipsters everywhere.
We reached out to H&M and Brandy Melville for their responses but had yet to hear back.
The suits, filed in U.S. District Court in L.A., ask for unspecified damages.
[Added at 11:14 p.m.]: An H&M spokeswoman got back to us tonight, but she didn't have much to say:
H&M doesn't comment on ongoing litigation.