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Friend Friday: Copying in the Fashion Industry

Photo courtesy of: girlfriendsgetaway.wordpress.com

It’s that time again, and though we had a lighter topic last week with our Fall Fashion Forecasts, we are back to pushing those hot topic buttons.  This week my fellow Friend Friday bloggers and I are talking about fashion knockoffs, inspired by a video posted on the The Taxonomy of My Wardrobe.  It is definitely worth watching all the way through and forming your own opinions!

As always, please check out Modly Chic to see what everyone else had to say, as well as details on how you can participate if you’re a blogger! J

Which side do you take… Copycat designs are a way for the average consumer to stay current and wear runway styles without breaking the bank OR Copycat designs take business from the designer and cheapen the value of their work. Explain.

I take the side of “Copycat designs are a way for the average consumer to stay current and wear runway styles without breaking the bank” and here’s why:

Unless I have a rich, dead uncle somewhere or I hit lotto, I will NEVER be able to afford what’s on the runway and I feel that designers do this on purpose.  It increases the exclusivity of their brand – using the concept of the more you know you can’t have it, the more you want it.  Because their prices are only reasonable to the few, you have a whole segment of a market completely left out.  Designers who take inspiration from runway items and develop their own version of it (selling it as their brand and not another designer’s brand of course) come in and fulfill that niche , catering to that group who wants to look just as fashionable as their richer counterparts.  I feel that just because I don’t have $3,000 for a designer dress, doesn’t mean I have to look frumpy.  My wallet shouldn’t control my sense of fashion.

Sometimes we do things, even if they are unethical or illegal (downloading music for free, watching full movies on YouTube). Do you think it is unethical for a designer to copy a vintage piece, make it current and sell it?  

I don’t think it’s unethical for a designer to copy a vintage piece, make it current and then sell it.  The piece is current and therefore different.  You can make something your own by taking inspiration from something else.  I think clothing is one of those things that are too utilitarian (this alludes to the 4th question) for it to be completely and utterly unique.  It’s like a story idea – if I’m inspired by your story when I write mine and make it my own, then its still my story.  If I copy it word for word and pass it off as my own, that’s plagiarism and its wrong.  That would be like me making an exact replica of a Dress from Chanel,  sticking a Chanel tag on it, and saying its Chanel.

Would you buy an item that is a very well done copy of a runway garment if it fell within your budget?

In all honesty, I would if it looked good on me and I liked it. 

According to the fashion laws, at least in the US, apparel design is seen as too utilitarian to qualify for copyright protection. Would you think this is detrimental to the industry or beneficial. (Check out this video on The Taxonomy of My Wardrobe to get a better idea of this concept: http://taxonomyofmywardrobe.blogspot.com/2010/08/fashion-and-copyright-laws.html) ,

I agree with the speaker in this video.  When it comes to the absolute basics of clothing its all the same.  You have to cover up the same body parts some kind of way.  If a designer has exclusive rights to the T-shirt, and no one else can make any form of a T-shirt, can you imagine the type of monopoly that brand would have?  They could charge a $1 million dollars for Tshirt because there is nowhere else you can get a T-shirt.  That would be insane!

A designer is like a artist, taking inspiration from what they see and making it their own.  Because fashion is treated they way it is when it comes to copyright protection,  it forces to the designer to up their game, come up with something new all the time, and push the envelope!  How boring would fashion be otherwise if we constantly getting the same thing!

Own up… share the things in your closet that is a knock off. You know those things you got in China Town, on the streets of New York, or where ever.

I currently have a knock off Dooney and Bourke clutch and a Guess handbag that I received as gifts.  We both knew they weren’t the real thing, but they are ridiculously cute so I rock them! 

I would love to hear what you ladies think!  Chime in below and have a happy Labor Day weekend!

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5 Comments

  1. Great post and I totally agree, my motto is buy the very best YOU can AFFORD an now many designers are making lines for stores like Target (Issacc MIzrahi) Vera Wang (Khols) to name a few, so designer wear can be worn by anyone.

    Reply
    • Absolutely! I like to see designers realizing that the purchasing power lies with the average consumer by coming out with more affordable lines.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Reply
  2. “Because fashion is treated they way it is when it comes to copyright protection, it forces to the designer to up their game, come up with something new all the time, and push the envelope! How boring would fashion be otherwise if we constantly getting the same thing!”

    I agree with you there too – as you say earlier giving someone a monopoly means they can overcharge and not have to do anything new!

    Reply
  3. “It’s like a story idea – if I’m inspired by your story when I write mine and make it my own, then its still my story. If I copy it word for word and pass it off as my own, that’s plagiarism and its wrong. That would be like me making an exact replica of a Dress from Chanel, sticking a Chanel tag on it, and saying its Chanel.”

    …brilliant!

    Reply

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