The image to the left is a collage I made in 2015 and the one to the right is a t-shirt @viviennewestwoodofficial is selling for 300€ at her website and shops around the world. Nobody asked me for permission to do this, of course my name is not on the Tshirt or anywhere and I am really angry about this, it is unfair, it is sad and well...sorry because I really like @viviennewestwoodofficial but is also stealing. I don't know what to do yet but I have to do something....you can help sharing this. Thank you. #viviennewestwood #robertamarrero
This story of how the Vivienne Westwood brand took an artist's work and put it on a T-shirt is fascinating to me for the ballsiness of the appropriation, as well as for issues of ownership—the work in question, while certainly unique and identifiable, itself makes use of found imagery.
The man whose face is at the center (literally) of artist Roberta Marrero's work, and is now on a Vivienne Westwood shirt, is David White, a classic Playgirl model. The image was shot by the supremely talented Norbert Jobst (who has probably since died—he would be 90+) for Playgirl, and as such belongs to the magazine, should they still retain any documentation following their many changings of the guard.
Plus: Would Mr. White not be able to object to being sold on a T-shirt (as opposed to being the subject of an original piece of collage art)?
Apparently, Westwood's husband designed the shirt, and the company is now claiming it was all one giant mistake—it has apologized to Marrero directly, which the artist greatly appreciates.
Check out Roberta Marrero's work here.
For more on former Winston cigarette stud David White, check out this smorgasbord of hotness, and also this 2007 article on his life post-modeling career.