Clothing retailer Lane Bryant has offered a public mea culpa, via Facebook, to artist Shantell Martin for using her designs on its clothing and advertising imagery. After three months of negotiations, Martin has reached a confidential settlement with the company, according to a conversation the artist had with artnet News.
“It’s a very small victory in this area, where there needs to be much more done to make sure artists and their creative liberties are protected,” Martin said in a phone interview.
Such infringements have become common in recent months, with a dozen artists accusing Zara of stealing their designs, and illustrator Lili Chen filing a $1 million lawsuit against Kohl’s (also recently settled out of court).
“A lot of this stuff happens because there isn’t a system in place with these companies to let designers know what they can and can’t do,” she added. “If you take pages from someone’s book and put it in your own, you have to acknowledge them or it’s plagiarism. Similarly, among designers, there has to be a system in place where this doesn’t have to happen.”
Lane Bryant’s annual revenue has in some recent years topped $1 billion. London-born, Brooklyn-based Martin, for her part, has been part of collaborations such as an Art Basel Miami Beach performance, where she created drawings live in response to a music set by Kendrick Lamar at the Faena Dome on the beach. She’s also been featured in publications including the New York Times and the New Yorker.
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