Artist Claims Kanye West Copied the 'The Life of Pablo' Denim Jacket

"For the jacket to become sold as fashion—it really put me over the edge."

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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Earlier this month, Kanye West opened a Pablo pop-up store in New York City. The wildly successful shop sold merch available at the rapper's Madison Square Garden event, along with new items, including denim jackets with signatures and handwriting all over. 

The denim jacket is reminiscent of the one Kanye wore during New York Fashion Week. Kanye's original jacket, designed by Australian artist Pauly Bonomelli, was inspired by the outerwear that belonged to Tweaky Dave, a homeless teenager photographed by Jim Goldberg in his 1995 book Raised by Wolves. Bonomelli has stated himself that he's indeed a fan of Dave, posting a photo of a denim jacket on Instagram with the caption, "R.I.P. Dave." 

He also posted a photo of Kanye wearing the jacket and mentioned Dave. 

Bonomelli also recognized Goldberg and his work, posting this on Instagram: 

But, it looks like Goldberg isn't happy that Kanye is selling remakes of the denim jacket. "For the jacket to become sold as fashion—it really put me over the edge," he told i-D magazine, adding that there's a lack of knowledge and respect for the piece. "The spirit and intention of Kanye could be right, but the manner in which he is presenting it is wrong. All meaning has been lost. [He's] forgetting history -- not acknowledging where that design came from is wrong."

Dave gave his original to Goldberg, who still owns and cherishes the piece. Goldberg told i-D he's planning to take legal action, though that may present some challenges as the jackets sold by Kanye aren't exact copies. "Ultimately all I would want from them is acknowledgement of Dave, and maybe they give something to homeless kids," he said. "I don't know how to achieve that, but that's what I would want to achieve."

We've reached out to Kanye's team and Bonomelli for comment, and will update when we have more information. 

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