Louis Vuitton Sues Artist for Darfur Campaign Images
by Stephanie Smyth


Image Courtesy of Nadia PlesnerIt seems as though celebrities are all over the media these days—and not usually for positive reasons. Many wonder just what important deeds Paris Hilton and Britney Spears have accomplished to make it on CNN or Fox News. Sharing the same questions, Danish artist Nadia Plesner has noticed the media’s prioritization of big and small world news.

In hopes of addressing this, Plesner has created the Simple Living Campaign. The main objective of the campaign is to raise awareness about the current genocide crisis taking place in Darfur, and in order to accomplish this, the 26-year-old artist designed an image featuring a waiflike child holding a miniature chihuahua and Louis Vuitton-esque handbag. The image, found on t-shirts and posters, has been sold in order to benefit the Divest for Darfur organization, through which 100 percent of proceeds benefit a “powerful way to exert economic pressure on the Sudanese government to cooperate with international peacekeeping efforts.”

“Since doing nothing but wearing designer bags and small ugly dogs apparently is enough to get you on a magazine cover, maybe it is worth a try for people who actually deserve and need attention,” explains Plesner, of the campaign.

Unfortunately for Plesner, the attention she has been receiving has not all been positive. On February 22, Louis Vuitton sent a letter to Plesner requesting that she remove all images from her website. Plesner believes that since she did not specifically use the LV logo, the image is simply a work of art and is a utilization of her freedom of expression. On April 15, Louis Vuitton filed a lawsuit against Plesner claiming copyright infringement.

Plesner has decided to look on the bright side of the situation. “There is no way to stop the huge flow of images that we meet everyday, but you can put something out there that hopefully makes people stop what they’re doing and start thinking,” she said. “I have a feeling that this is what has happened and the good thing about the lawsuit is that it has brought more attention to my story.”

Plesner has continued work on her Simple Living project and hopes that individuals will continue to support the campaign by purchasing items from Nadiaplesner.com.
“Luckily, my dream came true. I started the debate I wanted to—the drawing has hit a spot,” said Plesner. “People do care and want to get involved — both financially with supporting Divest for Darfur, and personally in the debate. Now we just have to keep our eyes on the ball: Darfur, not LV [Louis Vuitton].”