Artist says Vuitton design raises Darfur awareness

Mon May 19, 2008 9:22am EDT
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By Foo Yun Chee

HAARLEM, Netherlands (Reuters) - Danish art student Nadia Plesner, being sued by the fashion house Louis Vuitton for depicting its handbag on a T-shirt, says her design has got more people talking about the Darfur conflict than she ever thought.

Plesner, one of a group of designers who are trying to raise awareness of the violence in Sudan's Darfur region, created an image of a child victim of the conflict holding a tiny dog and a trademark patterned Louis Vuitton handbag.

"Everyone knows the image of a small starving black child. We have seen it so many times now, but it doesn't work anymore," said the 26-year-old, who is studying in Amsterdam.

Plesner has been inundated with orders for the image on T-shirts and posters since the Paris-based fashion house decided to take her to court for infringing copyright.

Louis Vuitton, part of the French luxury goods group LVMH, has taken issue with her unauthorized use of its trademark and copyright "for commercial purposes."

"This issue is important to Louis Vuitton because it directly impacts the brand on which our company has been built and which we must protect," it said in a statement.

Plesner said the image was also aimed at highlighting the media's obsession with show business at the expense of other global issues. The dog in her image is dressed in pink, like the lap dogs often clutched by celebrities.

INJUNCTION   Continued...

<p>Danish Artist Nadia Plesner shows the design wherefore she is being sued by powerhouse LVMH, owners of Louis Vuitton for the image below. Haarlem May 16, 2008. REUTERS/Paul Vreeker/United Photos</p>