DKNY Apologizes For “Inadvertently” Using Photographer’s Photos In Store Display Without Compensation

In yet another lesson to retailers that social media won’t let them get away with any shenanigans, DKNY has issued an apology to a New York photographer mere hours after he claimed on Facebook that the company lifted his photos without his consent, and used them in a store display in Bangkok.

Geographical boundaries mean nothing on the Internet, which is how Humans Of New York photographer and portraiture artist Brandon Stanton discovered his work was on display on the other side of the world.

In a Facebook photo post this morning, Stanton claimed that DKNY had at first approached him with an offer to buy his images for $50 apiece. He declined to sell them, which was why he was pretty shocked when a tipster sent him evidence of his work in the DKNY Bangkok store.

He issued a plea to fans to spread the word and get DKNY’s attention, not for compensation, but for the company to make a $100,00o donation to the YMCA in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

“That donation would sure help a lot of deserving kids go to summer camp,” he wrote.

DKNY has since issued a statement a mere three hours after the photo hit Facebook, blaming the incident on a previous mock-up that used Stanton’s photos, but wasn’t supposed to go public:

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.

What goes around, comes around a lot quicker these days, eh?