Luxury fashion

Banksy Tells Shoplifters To Steal From Guess, Says Company ‘Helped Themselves To My Artwork’

The anonymous and unconventional graffiti artist Banksy posted an unusual request on Friday, asking any potential shoplifters among his fanbase to visit the Regent Street Guess store in London and “help themselves.”

Banksy wrote the pro-shoplifting message on Instagram in response to some of his iconic designs being used in a Guess clothing collection. The collection features t-shirts and jackets imprinted with Banksy’s “Thug for Life Bunny” displayed in front of a blown-up backdrop, which featured the artist’s famous image of a looter throwing a bouquet of flowers. On Instagram, Banksy wrote:

“Attention all shoplifters. Please go to Guess on Regents Street. They’ve helped themselves to my artwork without asking, how can it be wrong for you to do the same to their clothes?”

InstagramBanksy on Instagram

It’s unclear how serious Bansky’s post really was, or if the artist was personally consulted about the clothing line before it went into production, but the offending Guess collection is in partnership with the company Brandalised, which reportedly has a license to commercialize and use Banksy’s artwork on goods.

Speaking last month about the collection, Guess chief creative officer Paul Marciano said: “The graffiti of Banksy has had a phenomenal influence that resonates throughout popular culture. This new capsule collection with Brandalised is a way for fashion to show its gratitude.”

While Banksy has engaged in some eyebrow-raising publicity stunts in his time (for example, arranging one of his artworks to be automatically shredded after being sold), his rally cry to shoplift at Guess looks like it might have been a genuine outburst of annoyance on social media.

Recently, Banksy seems to have been busy making politically charged art in Ukraine, with several murals painted in his distinctive style appearing in the city of Borodyanka, painted on ruined walls shattered by Russian shelling.

Banksy posted one of the artworks on Instagram, which depicts a gymnast doing a handstand among the rubble. Another piece in Borodyanka, not yet confirmed to be the work of Banksy, appears to show Vladimir Putin being defeated in a judo match by a child.

While Banksy has remained anonymous, his art is known for being subversive, politically charged and containing anti-establishment sentiments. Many of the comments underneath Banksy’s copyright complaint showed support from loyal fans, who seemed outraged on the artist’s behalf.

While some commentators suspected that Banksy’s Instagram post criticizing Guess may have been part of a “guerilla marketing campaign” (which would fit with the artist’s unorthodox approach), the named-and-shamed Guess store didn’t seem to be in on it.

In response to the Instagram post, Guess temporarily closed the Regent Street store to the public, covered the Banksy-themed window display, and even placed security outside.

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