Kanye West announced today that a member of his design team has been fired after plagiarizing sketches by former Nike designer Tony Spackman.
“Today I learned that a newly hired designer on the Yeezy team presented work that was not of their own. This person has immediately been let go from the Yeezy brand,” West tweeted.
The illustrations were originally produced 13 years ago.
The rapper and Adidas collaborator was referencing sketches he shared April 30 on Twitter, in which he praised the apparel designs — that he believed were created by his employee — as the new direction of Brand Yeezy.
“In a moment of inspiration, energy and excitement I had posted this sketch and would like to acknowledge the true creator of this amazing work, Tony Spackman,” he added.
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The sketches originated in 2005 by Spackman, who was then men’s and women’s sports design director at Nike. The artwork was intended for Nike’s Living Apparel range, according to notes written on Spackman’s sketch, which is published on his website. In 2013, Spackman joined fashion house Givenchy as design director of menswear.
After West unwittingly shared the infringed designs on Twitter in April, he captioned the image, “This is where a Yeezy study for base layer starts. I’m so excited by our new design team. Yeezy is no longer a fashion company we should be referred to as apparel or clothing or simply YEEZY.”
Spackman took to Instagram Stories to clarify that he is the author of the work, writing, “When Kanye rips your 10 year old Nike sketch and claims it.” He added photos of his work and noted that someone “Photoshops out the date,” highlighting that West’s version doctored out the “2005” caption that originally appeared.