Kanye West is accused of stealing a smaller brand’s logo for its new Donda merchandise, after the brand said it sent samples to the star and even met him to discuss their design process.
On August 5, the 44-year-old rapper held a listening event at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium for his new album Donda, which was released later in the month.
During the event, several shirts were on sale with a cross in a Star of David design – which looks almost identical to the logo of the emerging brand Infinity G8ds.
But this doesn’t seem to be a case of two designers just coming up with similar ideas: as the people behind Infinity G8ds said The everyday beast, they had sent pieces of clothing to Kanye at the request of someone on his team, and later they met the star to talk about how they came up with the logo — which Kanye himself said was “dope.”
Now the men are calling out Kanye, saying the situation “could have been handled differently” and Infinity G8ds should have at least been given creative credit.
Called out: Kanye West is accused of ripping off a smaller brand’s logo for its new Donda merchandise
Merch moment: At an event promoting his album Donda last month, he sold shirts with a cross in a Star of David
Deja vu! Kanye’s design is remarkably similar to the logo of emerging brand Infinity G8ds (pictured)
Infinity G8ds creative director Randy Dawkins said the entire saga kicked off in late July, months after the brand started posting its logo on social media in March.
Their logo features a cross wrapped in an infinity symbol surrounded by a Star of David and is printed on shirts, shorts and sweatpants.
Willie Wallace, Kanye’s chef, had contacted Dawkins and asked him to send samples of their clothing for him to show Kanye.
Dawkins obliged and sent four pieces from their latest collection.
On July 24, Wallace and Kanye FaceTimed Dawkins to arrange a meeting.
“After receiving the clothes, he loved it and asked to meet us,” JayShawn Bull, a musical artist who uses SSO Sneezy and is also involved with Infinity G8ds.
In a video posted to Instagram, Kanye can be heard on the phone on the phone saying, “I like this fabric.”
Infinity G8ds’ creative director said he sent Kanye samples of their designs before it showed up at his event
He is a lover! Kanye liked these items so much that he met Infinity G8ds, for whom they brought more items of clothing
“He said, ‘Bro, I really like your design. It’s really dope,’ said creative director Randy Dawkins.
“I was on the phone directly with Kanye,” Dawkins told the Daily Beast. “He said, ‘Bro, I really like your design. It’s really dope. When can I meet you to talk about your process?’ His exact words, he said he wants to talk to me about my thoughts.”
Dawkins and Bull were eager to meet Kanye, so they drove nine hours from Florida to Atlanta, Georgia to meet Kanye on July 26.
They brought Kanye with them five more pieces from their collection and sat down for a 40-minute meeting at his studio at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Dawkins said Kanye asked about the meaning of the logo and seemed to really like what they had to say.
‘He just wanted to understand our process – what does the design represent? We explained it to him and broke it down,’ Dawkins said.
“He loved the whole idea, the whole design. He was so intrigued,’ he added. “He started selling us dreams of doing business with him, and that was the meeting.”
Curious Mind: Dawkins (pictured) said Kanye was full of questions about their design process
On camera: he also has a recording of them setting up a meeting
Unfair? The team has documentation from the meeting, with Kanye making them think there would be a collaboration
Kanye even invited them to stay for dinner with him before promising to keep in touch.
But while they never heard from the star again, they got the message loud and clear that Kanye had used their work.
Travis Reece, one of Kanye’s personal chefs and also a member of Infinity G8ds, was the first to discover the well-known design on Kanye’s Donda merchandise and raised the alarm with Dawkins.
‘[They] never called us, never asked, never did anything like that,” Dawkins said.
When Dawkins tried to contact Kanye and his team, they couldn’t – and Reece soon lost his job, according to the Daily Beast.
They have seen alarm on social media
“We’re not the type of people who hunt for power, but things could have been handled differently,” Bull said on Instagram. “At least we could have gotten our creative credit.”
“This situation was absolutely unfortunate,” Dawkins said
“This situation was definitely unfortunate,” Dawkins repeated. ‘But we need to talk about it to defend our brand, because we certainly can’ [hinder] us in terms of bringing that out.”
Plus, Dawkins said it was a disappointment because they all looked up to Kanye.
‘[He] met us, [he] had opportunities to say, “Let’s work together this way, let’s do it this way”, but he saw no reason to involve us in what he wanted to do, and because we know for sure that we inspired him to his Donda merchandise, I’m disappointed,” he said.
“We’re not mad at you, but from one black artist to another black artist, he could have said, ‘I see what you’ve got, let’s help you get some exposure, some visibility.’ That’s all we ask.’