Kanye West Accused of Stealing Fashion Sketches from a Former Nike Designer
Tony Spackman was at Nike from 2000 to 2009 when Nike and Kanye West released the Nike Air Yeezy, their first official sneaker collaboration project
The rapper, 40, was accused of stealing a design blueprint and calling it his own when in actuality it appears to be an original sketch by former Nike designer Tony Spackman, who currently serves as design director of Givenchy.
On Friday, West acknowledged the stolen sketches tweeting, “Today I learned that a newly hired designer on the Yeezy team presented work that was not of their own. This person has immediately been let go from the Yeezy brand.” In a follow-up tweet, he wrote: “In a moment of inspiration, energy and excitement I had posted this sketch and would like to acknowledge the true creator of this amazing work, Tony Spackman.”
It all started when West tweeted the sketch on April 30 with the caption, “This is where a YEEZY study for base layer starts. I’m so excited about our new design team. Yeezy is no longer a fashion company we should be referred to as apparel or clothing or simply YEEZY.”
West’s tweet caught the attention of Spackman who posted on his Instagram Stories a comparison of his sketches and West’s which appeared to be identical.
“When Kanye rips your 10-year-old Nike sketch and claims it,” he stated on Instagram Stories adding that West had photoshopped out the title and the date.
Spackman later clarified that the image, which remains on his website, is actually 13 years old which was “Unlucky for some.”
Spackman’s design was from 2005 for a Nike collection called “Nike React,” a running collection grounded in freedom of movement and human comfort, according to Diet Prada, an Instagram account that keeps track of brands “knocking each other off.”
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Spackman spent nearly a decade designing at Nike from 2000 to 2009, the same year Nike and Kanye West released the Nike Air Yeezy, their first official sneaker collaboration project.
“I loved Nike. I have to put the ‘ed’ on it for the stockholders. When I was young I used to sketch the Swoosh and everything. It was heartbreaking for me to have to leave Nike,” West recently said in his wide-ranging interview with Charlamagne Tha God of iHeartRadio’s The Breakfast Club.
He said the reason he left Nike for Adidas was that of the royalties and “[Nike] wouldn’t let me build anything,” adding, “Everyone who worked with me are now the hottest people at Nike.”
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While West has been teasing new collections for Yeezy, as well as new music, multiple sources recently told PEOPLE that he will get so excited about his latest projects that he sometimes forgets to respect other people’s boundaries.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him like this,” a friend of West said. “He’s all over the place. Excited. Loud. He’s sleeping very little, texting at all hours of the day or night. Coming up with ideas, sending them to people and instructing everyone to drop everything and collaborate. He truly feels like it’s the most exciting stuff in the world.”
“It’s like he has discovered a cure for cancer. He’s that excited. And what he wants from you is to acknowledge that excitement and to reflect it back to him,” the friend continued.