Ethik Clothing Plagiarizing Art for Pop-Up Promo? [Updated]

Posted on: April 2nd, 2012 at 6:09 am by

When we posted about pop-up newcomer Ethik Clothing Company at 243 Broome Street (aka 77 Ludlow) last week, little did we know there was a storm of controversy surrounding these purveyors of urban styles. Numerous readers chimed in about the company’s alleged, err, unethical practices which incited a comment war. Ethik is being accused of flagrantly plagiarizing the work of Berlin-based artist Jennifer Osborne to promote the brand. There’s little doubt after checking these photos.

This image has been archived or removed.

Most vocal in the ongoing argument is HandyGirl, a performance artist and environmental advocate. She sent in the following:

This image has been archived or removed.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Osborne

There is an artist named Jennifer Osborne, who produced a body of work for an exhibition. The show was called “Wig Out” and is quite well known. The subject matter for this show revolved around photographic images of the most marginalized women in Vancouver. These women live in the downtown east side, and have had extremely difficult lives. Many are drug addicted and/or prostitutes. Jennifer got to know them and developed trusting relationships with them. With this level of trust, the women agreed to have their photographs taken for the exhibition.

When an artist produces work, they own the copyright and are protected by law. For an individual or business to use an artists work, they need permission from the artist. Ethik Clothing Company took one of Jennifer Osborne’s images from her website and altered it. They then used it in advertising for their clothing line. This is blatent copyright infringement.

The image they stole was of a woman who has very clearly been the victim of violence. Ethik made posters of this image and plasterd New York City with them. Neither the artist nor the subject gave permission.

I find it disgusting that Ethik could do such a thing. What is even more unbelievable is that Ethik refuses to publicly acknowledge what they have done and apologize. Anyone who brings this up on the internet (i.e. Facebook) has their post deleted and they are blocked by Ethik from further comments. Additionally, when someone mentions the theft, they are called names and the issue is dismissed as unimportant.

It is my opinion that this company needs to take responsibility. I keep returning to the woman in the image. She has rights and she is being exploited for what? the sale of a few t-shirts?

The entire thing is disturbing.

UPDATE: Ethik responded with the following…

The image was taken off a 3rd party link that had no link, ownership, or claim to who it belonged to. We simply thought this was a public image and that it was available for use. Little did we know it was the work of an artist. we DID NOT take it for her website.  Also we have apologized to the artist several times and have agreed to halt posting anymore up and taking the flyer of our website which we have done. The flyer was posted in a few places in the LES area, so to say it was posted all over NYC is a little extreme.

Ethik Clothing is at 243 Bowery until next Sunday, April 8.

Recent Stories

Full GovBall Lineup Announced for Summer 2020

This year marks the 10th anniversary of The Governors Ball Music Festival on Randall’s Island, and Founders Entertainment has tapped some big names to kick off the celebration. Headliners for this year’s festival are GovBall veterans Tame Impala, alongside New York indie darlings Vampire Weekend. New additions to the top slots include venerable Fleetwood Mac […]

International Center of Photography Launches at Essex Crossing Next Week

For the International Center of Photography, four years of transition come to an end next week, as the institution plans its inauguration at Essex Crossing. The 40,000 square-foot museum and school, reunited for the first time since the midtown move, will debut on January 25 with a free “Opening Community Day.” Visitors on day one […]

Michelin-Star Chef Bringing Omakase to Former Black Tap on Ludlow Street

From shakes to sushi. After the epic bomb that was Black Tap, 177 Ludlow Street is now taking a more upscale tack. Omakase, which is Japanese dining for the ultra-luxe set. Real Estate Weekly has the scoop, reporting that a new mystery tenant, who currently owns and operates eight restaurants in New York and Tokyo, […]

‘Karvouna’ Evicted from the Bowery After Less than a Year

Restaurants can’t seem to make it work at 241 Bowery. The latest entrant, Karvouna Mezze, just joined the growing list of failures at this address. The City Marshal paid a visit to the restaurant and shut it down. All told, Karvouna lasted barely one year. Partners Dimitris Vlahakis, Wei Chen, and Chef Giuseppe Scalco (Merakia […]

Beastie Boys and Spike Jonze Announce New Documentary for Apple+

Apple yesterday announced that a new Beastie Boys documentary is coming to its Apple+ platform this spring. Right alongside the 26th anniversary of Ill Communication. Beastie Boys Story is just that – the history of the band as told by surviving members Mike D. and Adam “Ad Rock” Horovitz. It’s based on the bestselling Beastie Boys […]