Friend Friday #5: Copying in the Fashion Industry


It is a little ironic or timely or whatever that this week’s Friend Friday topic is copying in the fashion industry and knock-offs as I am currently on holiday in Italy where in every town, street sellers are trying to entice you with knock-off designer bags and purses. So far, I have declined to purchase. Indeed, when searching for a suitable picture for this week’s post, the article which accompanies the above photograph warns that the police in Italy are getting touch on tourists who buy fake handbags, issuing large fines to those caught.

1. 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.

If I could afford designer clothes straight from the catwalks, there is no doubt that I would happily wear them. But I can’t. So whilst I lust after the beautiful designs I see on the runways each season, I have to find an affordable way to translate these looks for myself. I don’t think that a copycat design is necessarily a bad thing for a designer, after all, imitation is the highest form of flattery.

2. 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?

Not at all. Designers get their inspiration from many different sources and if a vintage piece happens to be a part of that process then I don’t see that as unethical.

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

I’m trying to think now, whether or not I have actually done this. I’m not sure that I necessarily have or would. I tend to take inspiration from the catwalk and street style that I see and then interpret it in my own way, to suit my own style.

4. 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 detrimental to the industry or beneficial. (Check out this video on The Taxonomy of My Wardrobe to get a better idea of this concept)

I haven’t managed to watch The Taxonomy of My Wardrobe’s vlog as our internet connection is a little slow here and there is sun to bathe in, wine to drink and pizza to eat! But do watch it. 

I think design freedom is essential in fashion and that, as such, any attempt to curb this would be detrimental.

5. 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 wherever.

Hmmm. As before, I’m not sure that there is a knock-off in my wardrobe. I do have a trench from the high street which someone once took for Burberry but that is all. I’m always a little wary of street sellers.

What are your thoughts on this issue? I’d love to hear what you think. If you want to read the other contributions to this week’s discussion, remember to check out the links at Modly Chic.

Happy Friday all! More soon when I’m back in Blighty (tomorrow).

UPDATE: you can now read my postscript to this post here.

About sugarandspicesg

fashion blogger
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