A few years ago, the artist, fashion designer, style icon, and it-girl Kesh was employed by American Apparel to create a really cool diffusion line of black-and-white graphic separates, defined by eyes and faces and rooted in a style that she's been proffering for years. The pieces were available at standard AA prices—$30—in basically every store. Now, it looks very much like Versace has ripped off her design on a t-shirt going in Selfridges for £440, or around $650 US.
Kesh told The Cut, "A friend sent an image of it to my phone. I woke up to it this morning thinking it was another cheap Chinese rip off. Then I saw the £440 price tag and that it was on the Selfridges website." (She also wrote on Instagram, "This looks like a first draft.")
Versace is no stranger to hiring smart, savvy, cool young women to create collabos—witness MIA's work for them in 2013—so it would make better sense for them to actually employ her, rather than stealing a two-year-old design that "non-elites" could buy all over the place. (It makes more sense when you consider that MIA and Kesh are old friends from England, and toured together in 2007.) It's also disappointing considering Versace appeared to be having a renaissance—but maybe not. Here's video from Kesh's American Apparel launch in London, back in 2013. Looks familiar, no?
Kesh told The Cut that she intends to have her lawyers contact Versace. "I am deeply disappointed in this," she said. "This is not only artwork from a show that took me two years to develop and create. It is not only artwork from a collection that I created for American Apparel to provide something affordable and accessible to supporters of my work. But this is also my face! I can't understand how something like this could happen."
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.