Did DKNY Steal Photo Blogger Brandon Stanton's Pics for a Bangkok Boutique?

Did DKNY Steal Photo Blogger Brandon Stanton's Pics for a Bangkok Boutique?
A DKNY storefront in Bangkok, featuring photographs from Brandon Stanton's "Humans of New York" project
(Courtesy of Brandon Stanton)

The fashion house DKNY apologized on Facebook today to the founder of the popular street photography blog “Humans of New York,” Brandon Stanton, for using his images without permission in the window display of its Bangkok store. 

In a post on his site earlier today, Stanton said the company offered him $15,000 a few months back to buy 300 of his photographs to hang in its windows around the globe. After consulting a friend with knowledge of the business, Stanton decided to ask for more money. DKNY declined — but then apparently went ahead and used the images anyway.


Stanton wasn’t aware of this until a follower of his blog sent him a snapshot today of a Bangkok-based DKNY, in which it appears that hundreds of the photographer’s signature New York street scenes are serving as a backdrop for window mannequins. Stanton, who is known for his affable demeanor, said he’s not seeking any compensation or legal action, but wanted the company to donate $100,000 to Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant YMCA. “That donation would sure help a lot of deserving kids go to summer camp,” he wrote on the blog. 

In response, DKNY said it had "immense respect" for Stanton and explained that the images were used in error. "For the Spring 2013 windows program, we licensed and paid for photos from established photography service providers. However, it appears that inadvertantly 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 said it would make a $25,000 donation to the Bed-Stuy YMCA in Stanton's name.