DKNY steals artist’s work, doesn’t so much feel like paying him for it

When NY street photographer Brandon Stanton was approached by DKNY about featuring 300 of  his images in their window displays, he turned them down. The company had offered him $15,000 for 300 photographs, and he was pretty sure the company- being pretty damn rich and all- could probably afford a bit more than $50 a pop. DKNY, however, seems to have thought differently and figured if they couldn’t convince him to give up his photos for the el cheapo price they’d aimed for, they could just steal them and use them in a store in Bangkok and hope that no one noticed.

But a fan of Stanton’s did notice, and sent him a picture of the Bangkok storefront, and he is now asking for some appropriate compensation: for the company to donate $100,000 to the Bed-Stuy YMCA.

DKNY has responded to the allegations by rambling on about how much they love NYC and love artists from NYC and most especially how much they love NYC street photographer Brandon Stanton. They claim that this is all just a mistake and that the visual merchandisers at the Bangkok store were confused by a mock-up they sent them… using Stanton’s images.

Who knows how much to buy of their story? With retailers like Urban Outfitters repeatedly stealing things from independent artists on the regular, it’s hard to tell what is a genuine mistake, and what is a “maybe they won’t notice” intentional plan to use someone’s work without their knowledge or compensation.