Guess store forced to close in London after Banksy encourages shoplifters to “help themselves”

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Banksy has encouraged people to visit fashion retailer GUESS’ flagship Regent Street store and shoplift clothes featuring his artwork, after accusing the US brand of stealing his work.

GUESS’ flagship Regent Street store recently launched a GUESS x Brandalised project capsule in mid-November featuring some of his work on the clothing — including the Flower Thrower, Balloon Girl and Follow Your Dreams.

However, the anonymous street artist has claimed that GUESS did not ask for permission to use his works.

In a recent post on his Instagram page, for which he has 11.8 million followers, he wrote: “Attention all shoplifters Please go to GUESS on Regent Street.

Read this next: The 5 most controversial Banksy moments of the decade

“They’ve helped themselves to my artwork without asking, how can it be wrong for you to do the same to their clothes?” he continued.

In response, legendary drum ‘n’ bass artist and Metalheadz’s owner Goldie wrote: “go clear the gaffe out kids lol.”

In a press statement about the collection, the US brand said: “Using iconic motifs from Banksy’s graffiti, this collection combines the artist’s graffiti with GUESS attitude.’

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,” he continued.

Read this next: Banksy made honorary professor at UCA in recognition of humanitarian efforts

GUESS described the collection’s partner Brandalised as an “urban graffiti license whose mission is to offer Banksy fans affordable graffiti collectibles”.

In response to Banksy, Brandalised posted on Instagram, which quoted something Banksy had previously said in 2012. It read: “Any graffiti [changed from advertisement] in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It belongs to you. It’s yours to take, rearrange and re-use.

“Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head,” it continued.

Mixmag has reached out to GUESS for comment.

Isaac Muk is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow him on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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