Rocawear, the clothing company founded by Jay Z, has been accused of ripping off designs by an American band.
JS Aurelius, who co-founded Arizona noise-techno group Marshstepper and also plays guitar with excellent desert punks Destruction Unit, posted a series of photos to Facebook yesterday (September 25) comparing the designs of Rocawear’s ‘Hellraisers’ print and Marshstepper’s ‘Performance of Death’ and ‘Subliminal Acoustic Manipulation’ designs, as FACT report.
Aurelius made no comment on the similarities initially, instead quoting a caption from Rocawear’s own Instagram: “Never settle for something that doesn’t seem right to you. Raise hell if you have to, never settle for less.”
When reached for comment, Aurelius linked to a longer statement issued on Facebook. “Thanks to all the friends, friends of friends and distant comrades who have come to my defense or support,” he wrote, “If this ‘theft’ of design/idea/artwork infuriates you like it has for some that I’ve seen posting about it, I’m sure the theft of labor and lives must infuriate you even more. You can show your support for my ideas (the ideas that drive my artwork) by donating whatever resources you can (money, time, publicity, etc) to an organization like the Free Alabama Movement, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, your local Black Lives Matter chapter, Taala Hooghan Infoshop, etc.”
“I think that, as an artist and activist, I’m at least attempting to question or dismantle some of the systems and social forms we take for granted, which make radical change seem daunting or impossible. If I ultimately thought my ideas were capable of being diminished by cheap knock-offs, then my ideas rise no higher than the level of consumer goods. If I thought they were recoupable via the validation of a judge or of some international luxury brand, they’d fail to transcend the social forms of greed and oppression that limit human development and flourishing. I, however, think we can exceed and transcend these limits. I think the depth of support y’all have shown for myself (and other artists or activists being taken advantage of) is proof that a lot of people agree. I would just remind you to remain conscious of the methods we use and priorities we hold in this struggle.”
Rocawear did not immediately respond to request for comment.