Did This Fashion Brand Rip Off Timothy Goodman?

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UPDATE: Timothy Goodman has released an apology via his Instagram stories that clears up the misunderstanding between his typographical lettering art and that seen in the release from Longchamp. After he posted on his feed about the similar styles between them, Longchamp reached out to Goodman to clear the air. It turns out, the techniques were only coincidentally alike and not an issue of copyright as Longchamp trademarked their pattern back in 2000, only to have it be seen in 2019 with their new identity system, while Goodman produced his signature design in 2015.

A few summers ago, I had the thrill of being alongside some of Manhattan's finest teenagers at The Governor's Ball, a music festival that features some fantastic artists. As a Florence + The Machine fan, it's a prerequisite that I hear the live version of The Dog Days Are Over despite being overaged and underdressed (or overdressed, depending on who you ask.)

Being able to hear live music from some of my favorite artists with my best friends was just a tiny piece of what made the festival so extraordinary. However, my auditory senses weren't the only ones filled with pure joy. Visual art decorated the massive fields through vertical billboard-like structures, which is where I discovered the well-known artist and designer Timothy Goodman, known for his larger-than-life doodles, politically driven typographic murals, and thought-provoking Instagram account.

On his Instagram, Timothy recently shed light on the fact that a pretty big fashion brand ripped off his well-known signature block lettering style and, instead of admitting fault, stated, according to Timothy’s Instagram post, “they developed this style years before [he] did, even though it was never commercially seen.” He's created commissioned pieces with this style for other prominent brands, including Uniqlo, Target, Rag & Bone, and Adidas, along with many others. Unfortunately, Longchamp, the French luxury leather goods company, mimicked his style and took credit for a design style that is clearly more than "inspired" by Timothy's work.

While Copyright Law doesn't protect against "variations of typographical lettering," it's essential for consumers to be aware of the way large brands take and use art, designs, and creations from small independent creators and use them to turn around and make a significant profit without ever giving credit or payment to the original artist. While Timothy might be shedding light on this specific instance, it's unfortunately not a unique or new issue, and that is truly despicable.

Also, you know, the brand could have hired him to do his thing.

As Goodman stated in his Instagram caption that discusses this most recent instance of stealing from artists, "Hire artists, pay artists, give them credit & don't be a thief. This is our livelihood." As consumers, we can be aware and do just that.