Did Kanye West Steal a Design Concept? See The Similar Designs

Kanye West
Kanye West’s ‘Pablo’ pop-up shop in NYC, March 18, 2016 Andrew H. Walker/WWD/REX/Shutterstock

There’s trouble out West.

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A New Haven–based photographer is alleging that Kanye West took a page straight out of Picasso’s playbook. Jim Goldberg claims that West, 38, stole a concept for a denim jacket and sold the dupes at both his Yeezy Season 3 event in February and his Pablo pop-up shop in New York city earlier this month.

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Goldberg, 62, took a snapshot of Tweaky Dave, a homeless teenager, that he featured in his 1995 book Raised by Wolves, according to Complex. Dave’s faded denim jacket (which Goldberg now owns, as Dave has since passed away) features a slew of handwritten messages in permanent marker — “F–k off and die” is featured prominently on the back of the topper.

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Australian artist Pauly Bonomelli designed a replica for West and acknowledged that Tweaky Dave was his inspiration. West, who wore Bonomelli’s jacket during New York Fashion Week in February, has not. 

Kanye West
Kanye West Raymond Hall/GC Images (2)

The rapper, who shares two children with wife Kim Kardashian, then sold similar toppers for $400. Goldberg is not a member of West’s fan club, as the rapper is “not acknowledging where that design came from,” he told i-D magazine.

“For the jacket to become sold as fashion — it really put me over the edge,” Goldberg continued. “The spirit and intention of Kanye could be right, but the manner in which he is presenting it is wrong. All meaning has been lost. [He’s] forgetting history — not acknowledging where that design came from is wrong.”

Yeezy season 3 – I don’t wear replicas – link in profile #yeezy

A post shared by Jim Goldberg (@goldbergjim) on

On March 22, West tweeted that he sold “1 million dollars of clothing in 2 days” — cash that could possibly be spent at court. Goldberg plans on taking legal action, but he might be willing to compromise before doing so.

“Ultimately all I would want from them is acknowledgement of Dave, and maybe they give something to homeless kids,” Goldberg said to i-D. “I don’t know how to achieve that, but that’s what I would want to achieve.”

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