Three months ago DKNY offered the up-and-coming street-style photographer Brandon Stanton $15,000 to use 300 of his photos for a new display in its store windows, he says. But Stanton wanted more money, and the deal fell through. And then on Monday morning, as back-to-back-to-back fashion weeks were winding down and the spring collections were going on sale, Stanton spotted his popular photos in DKNY windows anyway — and took to Facebook to rally support.

Stanton, a 28-year-old photo-blogger from Brooklyn, has been gaining a huge fashion following — 559,000-plus fans on a Facebook page and a two-book deal from St. Martin's Press — for his two-and-a-half-year-old blog Humans of New York. It's been praised as a kind of update on The Satorialist as a street-fashion blog with human personality. On his site, Stanton writes that this was something of a natural, viral evolution: 

I set out to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and plot their photos on a map. I worked for several months with this goal in mind. But somewhere along the way, HONY began to take on a much different character. I started collecting quotes and short stories from the people I met, and began including these snippets alongside the photographs.Taken together, these portraits and captions became the subject of a vibrant blog, which over the past two years has gained hundreds of thousands of followers.

And then came the DKNY offer in the late fall, Stanton writes on his Facebook page today:

I was approached by a representative of DKNY who asked to purchase 300 of my photos to hang in their store windows "around the world." They offered me $15,000. A friend in the industry told me that $50 per photo was not nearly enough to receive from a company with hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue. So I asked for more money. They said "no."

Representatives for DKNY have not responded to requests for comment from The Atlantic Wire regarding the brand's relationship with Stanton, but his complaint this morning already has more than 20,000 likes, as he points to this store window snapshot taken by one of his Facebook fans:

Reached by phone, Stanton said he found out that his photos were all over a display this morning at 5 a.m., when friends and Facebook fans congratulated him on a collaboration he thought he had ended before it really even began. That's definitely a DKNY store — you can find the dress here and the shirt here. "It's a store in Bangkok," Stanton said, offering this wider shot of the store as evidence:

Over the course of a brief interview, Stanton counted about 15 photos he said he's taken by zooming in on the Bangkok storefront images shared with him fans. Here's a Fashion Week photo from Humans of New York:

And here's that shot in the DKNY storefront display:

Stanton estimates that about 75 percent of the brand's collage is made up of his photos, which has copyrighted without fair-use allowances. That he had negotiated with the brand and then declined their offer suggests that the brand may have gone ahead and used them anyway, without his permission, but Stanton says he's taking the high road: "I don't want any money," Stanton writes in his Facebook post, suggesting that instead of being reimbursed, "DKNY should donate $100,000 on my behalf to the YMCA in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. That donation would sure help a lot of deserving kids go to summer camp." 

Update, 1:02 p.m. Eastern: DKNY has taken to Facebook itself, issuing an apology acknowledging that the Bangkok store did, in fact, use Stanton's photos without his permission. Their statement reads:

...it appears that inadvertently 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.

And the brand will be donating $25,000 to Stanton's local YMCA: 

DKNY has always supported the arts and we deeply regret this mistake. Accordingly, we are making a charitable donation of $25,000 to the YMCA in Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn in Mr. Stanton's name.

Stanton had originally asked for a $100,000 donation. The full apology:

Since its founding in 1989, DKNY has been inspired by and incorporated authentic New York into its imagery. For our Spring 2013 store window visuals we decided to celebrate the city that is in our name by showcasing "Only in NYC" images. We have immense respect for Brandon Stanton aka Humans of New York and approached him to work with us on this visual program. He declined to participate in the project. 

For the Spring 2013 windows program, we licensed and paid for photos from established photography service providers. However, it appears that inadvertently 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 has always supported the arts and we deeply regret this mistake. Accordingly, we are making a charitable donation of $25,000 to the YMCA in Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn in Mr. Stanton's name.