UPDATE 7/20: The North Face released a statement recently stating, “We have great respect for artistic individuality, expression, and intellectual property, and would never want an artist to feel otherwise. This includes the recent unfortunate situation involving Futura, an artist we hold in high esteem…..While The North Face is confident there has been no infringement in this case, we are committed to supporting creative artists and their communities. As a sign of that commitment and a sincere gesture of goodwill, we will begin to phase out and discontinue the use of the FUTURELIGHT™ circular nanospinning logo design out of deep respect for Futura and his work.”
I think the most annoying thing about this “apology” is the condescending tone. The North Face has clearly become privy to the publics view of them and passion for Futura and independent designers that they are trying to cover their bases with this ingenuine statement. Where is the empathy and actual apology? All they are doing is covering up what they’ve done by saying how much they’ve tried to sort this out with Futura and how not-in-the-wrong they are. I think it’s bull.
Big corporations continuously think (and often do) get away with scandals by throwing money at it and covering it up. I think The North Face realizes now that they won’t get away with it and that Futura’s fans are loyal and will support him and truly shun the popular outdoor brand. And that, and only that, is why they have issued this statement — they are scared to lose the coin.
You might remember a story of ours sharing how Futura, famous streetwear artist, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against outwear giant, The North Face. The lawsuit, originally filed in January, says the outdoor brand took his “stylized depiction of an atom” for a logo in their 2019 collection of waterproof outwear called “FUTURELIGHT.” Futura asked for them to remove the logo on all products as a way to stand in the gap for all creatives, globally.
Futura was only made away of the copyright via Instagram in a series of DMs from people who believed FUTURELIGHT was an official collaboration between Futura and the brand. That’s when he took action, to which The North Face clapped back referring to him as a “self-described street artist who sometimes uses an atom motif in his artwork.”
Appalled at their behavior and intimidating tactics, Futura took to Instagram to share his official statement since he filed the lawsuit. “I I feel now is the time to speak up, and stand up, not just for myself, but more importantly, for the creative community at large, and the wider arriving community moving forward, the young creatives of tomorrow who certainly shouldn’t be exploited or manipulated,” he wrote. Things took a turn towards the ending of his statement when he said, “TNF feels like they already won, millions of dollars pouring in, collaborations lined up, they think the culture still loves them, they think they can do whatever they want, and my rights don’t matter. my work doesn’t matter. I don’t matter. They are owned by a billion-dollar firm. ‘THE MAN” doing what “THE MAN” does best.”
The statement was also released after a California judge granted The North Face’s desire to dismiss Futura’s complaint, saying they questioned the validity of the trademark complaint stating it, “does not function as a source identifier” – so it does not carry a trademark.
Photo via Heison Ho/HYPEBEAST