The Fashion Law reports that the wildly popular streetwear brand used an image of Luang Phor Koon, a Thai Buddhist monk who died in 2015, on its “Blessings Ripstop Shirt.” The item is included in Supreme’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection, and features an image of the monk surrounded with script that comes from a form of tattoos that are supposed to be had only by Brahmin holy men and Buddhist monks. It would appear as though the shirt has since been removed from the preview of the SS21 season, as it had yet to drop.
The shirt itself depicts Luang Phor Koon sitting and smoking, which the National Office of Buddhism said is among the “most popular” images of him. The image was originally made sometime around 2002, with the monk’s permission. It was later printed on products to raise money for a temple, Wat Ban Rai in Nakhon Ratchasima province, and the Office of Buddhism has confirmed that Supreme did not seek permission to use the image.
Legal options are currently being weighed by Thai officials, but the Wat Ban Rai is entitled to “full copyright protection” according to the Bangkok Post. Supreme has gotten in trouble over claims of copyright theft in the past, notably back in 2019 facing a lawsuit for allegedly stealing a specific camouflage design.