Luxury Hermès has entered the metaverse, but not as a designer: It has taken legal action in New York against an artist who created NFTs that are fur bags strongly inspired by the brand’s iconic bag, Birkin.
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Mason Rothschild and artist Eric Ramirez first created the “Non-Fungible Token” (NFT), a proprietary “digital object” they named “Baby Birkin,” actually inspired by the star of Hermès bags.
In the face of the first NFT sales success, Mason Rothchild created a hundred “MetaBirkins” and put them up for sale in cryptocurrency for the equivalent of a few thousand euros.
In the lawsuit filed in New York civil court, which was consulted by AFP, Hermes accuses Mason Rothschild of being a “digital speculator seeking to get rich quickly by acquiring the MetaBirkin brand” to sell NFT. The MetaBirkin brand was simply added to the popular Hermès brand name, Birkin, by adding the prefix meta.
The artist “has openly admitted that he chose to sell NFTs in the name of Metabirkins because the Birkin handbag is such a valuable commodity in the real world,” the luxury group in particular argues.
Birkin bags, the staple of leather goods store Cellar inspired by the English singer and actress, sell in stores for several thousand euros.
The name Metabirkins, “brought him financial success in a matter of weeks. There is no doubt that this success stems from the confused use of the Hermès brand,” says the maker of leather goods in the basement.
And the artist responded on social networking sites, “Hermes’ allegations are baseless.” “I do not make or sell replica Birkin bags. I have made artwork depicting imaginary fur-covered Birkin bags,” he adds, referring to Andy Warhol and his famous paintings of Campbell’s soup cans.
“The fact that I sell art using NFTs does not change the fact that it is art,” he adds before making clear that he wants to discuss with the luxury brand. “I hope Hermes understands that I will not be intimidated,” he concludes.
In contact with AFP, Hermes said it would not comment on ongoing court cases.
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