A New York photographer claims that DKNY is using hundreds of his photos in international store displays without his permission. Brandon Stanton, creator of the Humans of New York photo project, says DKNY offered him $15,000 to use 300 of his photos in store windows around the world. He says he asked for more money, but the brand declined. "Today, a fan sent me a photo from a DKNY store in Bangkok," Stanton writes in a blog post and on the Humans of New York Facebook page. "The window is full of my photos. These photos were used without my knowledge, and without compensation." He asked readers to reblog or share his story if they support his idea of DKNY donating $100,000 on his behalf to the YMCA in New York's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. AdFreak reached out to DKNY for comment, but we haven't heard back yet. Within two hours of being posted on Facebook, Stanton's post racked up more than 16,500 likes and 18,000 shares. Quite a few of the Facebook commenters are skeptical of Stanton's version of events, but most are overwhelmingly supportive of him. Meanwhile, DKNY's Facebook page is being deluged with comments such as "SHAMEFUL!" and "Make it right, DKNY." We'll have an update when we hear back from the brand.
UPDATE: DKNY has responded, saying it was an isolated error at the Bangkok store, and promising to donate $25,000 to the Bed-Stuy YMCA. Full statement below.
Since its founding in 1989, DKNY has been inspired by and incorporated authentic New York into its imagery. For our Spring 2013 store window visuals we decided to celebrate the city that is in our name by showcasing "Only in NYC" images. We have immense respect for Brandon Stanton aka Humans of New York and approached him to work with us on this visual program. He declined to participate in the project.
For the Spring 2013 windows program, we licensed and paid for photos from established photography service providers. However, it appears that inadvertently the store in Bangkok used an internal mock up containing some of Mr. Stanton's images that was intended to merely show the direction of the spring visual program. We apologize for this error and are working to ensure that only the approved artwork is used.
DKNY has always supported the arts and we deeply regret this mistake. Accordingly, we are making a charitable donation of $25,000 to the YMCA in Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn in Mr. Stanton's name.