Swedish retail giant H&M has pulled its Justin Bieber merchandise after the singer slammed them on Instagram.
The pop star posted two since deleted notes to his Instagram story. He claimed he didn’t approve any of the merch collection “that they put up at H&M.” Bieber contends the entire collection was done without his approval or permission. “SMH I wouldn’t buy it if I were you,” he posted. He doubled down on the second post, where he called the merchandise “trash,” before reiterating he didn’t approve it a flat out saying “dont buy it.”
“As with all other licensed products and partnerships, H&M followed proper approval procedures,” the company responded. Later in the week, the company issued another statement about the situation: “Out of respect for the collaboration and Justin Bieber we have removed the garments from our stores and online.”
Anything bearing Bieber’s name and likeness has since been removed from the retailer’s website.
The merchandise line included clothing, phone accessories, and tote bags. Some items have Bieber’s face on them. While others feature song lyrics like “I miss you more than life,” from his song “Ghost” off the 2021 album Justice.
Some have pointed out that the color palette and style of H&M’s merchandise is very similar to what Bieber sells on his website. Which makes sense, the singer has a distinctive style so items bearing his likeness would probably mimic that. But this similarity has caused some to speculate he may have approved the line until he saw just how similar the items are. This fear of cannibalizing his own line could have led to him rescinding his approval.
It’s also possible that there was an error about what was and wasn’t permitted on either side of the issue. Since there is also a similar feud between street artist Banksy and the Guess clothing brand over, using their art without permission. Guess, just like H&M, claims they had permission via someone who supposedly holds licensing on the designs.
Unfortunately, copyright can be a tricky a convoluted area of law, especially when it comes to fashion. Until contracts are presented by either side, we may never know who agreed to what in these situations.