Friend Friday: Copying in the Fashion Industry
Copying in the fashion industry is a huge topic. So this Friend Friday topic from Katy Rose at it's serious because it's literally stealing. As consumers we are not giving credit to whom credit is due when we wear knock-offs.  Where are you on the fence when it comes to buying that knock-off handbag at the flea market or from a vendor on the street? Do you feel  fabulous when you buy something that looks like the real thing and wear it proudly? 
Well I bought a knock off once and I didn't feel good at all after I bought it.  I decided that if I want a name brand anything, no matter what it is, I will save for it and buy it from the original designer . I think when you  buy an imposter, you run into inferior materials and quality of brand. Consumers have to be careful because you can get burned -you may be thinking you are purchasing an original brand but it's completely fake or you purchase a knock off version of an original and it falls apart because of poor quality. We don't know who made those knock-off garments and what they were paid or how long of hours they worked to dish out those items.  To much uncertainty to risk it just to look like I have a brand that really is only a copy.

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.  
  Of course, I would take the side that copycat designs are a way for the average consumer to stay current and wear runway styles without breaking the bank.  I don't have a problem with designers who use other designer pieces as inspiration not as a way to make money off of another designer's name. They make it more affordable for the consumer. Above is a sketch of Chelsea Clinton's wedding dress, it's simply beautiful but most ladies do not have thousands of dollars to spend on a Vera Wang gown. So for AB Schwartz to "knock off" the original for an inspiration piece to be sold at your favorite department store at a reasonable price is a dream come true for a lot of women. It's part of the fashion cycle or often called the trickle down theory of fashion.  The innovators are the first ones on the scene to get the latest fashion and then it starts to trickle down to the consumers where the designers may tweak it a bit and then after that it either goes out of fashion or runs the cycle all over again.

2. Sometimes we do things, even if they are unethical or illegal (downloading music for free, watching full movies on You Tube). Do you think it is unethical for a designer to copy a vintage piece, make it current and sell it?
No. A period piece is different because it has been around for years so I don't think it's unethical. I would love it if the designer would draw inspiration from a vintage piece then copy it exactly and use their creativity because they are also using innovation to think outside of the box to make the design their own. For example, many designers draw upon Diane Von Furstenberg for inspiration (the wrap dress).

3. Would you buy an item that is a very well done copy of a runway garment if it fell within your budget?
I would by an inspiration piece not a copy. As long as the designer was using the runway piece as a source of inspiration.  For example, Chanel is suing a handbag corporation for knocking off their handbags and using inferior materials while doing it. The company being sued by Chanel says that there bags are of good quality and not made of inferior quality.  It is wrong to put a brand of another designer on your product and sell it because it's not your brand, it's literally stealing.

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 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:
I watched the video on Taxonomy of My Wardobe's blog last weekend and yes when I looked at the video and read her blog I had some concern but a bill to help protect designs created by designers was recently amended due to most of the fashion industry feeling that the first bill was to stringent and could cause for many unnecessary court cases.

Innovative Design protection and Piracy Prevention Act ("IDPPPA")


Senator Charles E. Schumer initiated an amended bill recently to protect original designs of fashion designers and has both the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) and the AAFA (American Apparel & Footwear Association) in agreement for it to hopefully pass.
Key points in this bill
A ‘fashion design’
‘‘(A) is the appearance as a whole of an article of apparel, including its ornamentation;and
 ‘‘(B) includes original elements of the article of apparel or the original arrangement or placement of original or non-original elements as incorporated in the overall appearance of the article of apparel that— ‘‘(i) are the result of a designer’s ow creative endeavor; and‘‘(ii) provide a unique, distinguishable, non-trivial and non-utilitarian variation over prior designs for similar types of articles.

So the proof of creativity and innovation is in the designers court. We shall see if it passes.
  Link to article on this bill:New York Times

Stop Fashion Piracy
Stop Fashion Piracy encourages the public to get Congress to join in with this petition. If you would like to sign it click the link.

Please take action today!----- Sign the Petition in Support of the Design Piracy Prohibition Act. --------Stop Fashion Piracy!

Design piracy, the blatant copying of anothers designs, is akin to counterfeiting without affixing the fake designer label. Sadly, because of a lack of adequate legal protection, design piracy has become a way of life in the fashion industry in the U.S.
Design piracy is unfair to designers and is detrimental to competition within the fashion industry. It effectively allows others to plagiarize the original designer's creative ideas and reap the benefits of the creator's labor and assumption of risk.
The U.S. legal system plays a key role in maintaining a fair playing field for businesses across a wide range of industries. However, the current intellectual property laws in the United States do not offer effective protections to ensure fair competition within the fashion industry.
Your voice is very important in this determining the kinds of protections our legal system offers to designers

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 where ever.
I bought two bags at a flea market a while back not knowing they were fakes.  So naive am I when I looked at the bag I purchased for $40, online it retailed for approx. over $500.
Coach look alike tote

Louis Vuitton look a like

Louis Vuitton copy

Coach copy logo

After this purchase no more knock-offs for me.
How to tell if your Louis Vuitton bag may be fake
-If you buy it at a flea market or street vendor in China town
-If the LV logo is cutoff or if the seams aren't finished
-Buying your bags online.  This is tough because so many online vendors say that their bags are authentic
-If your handles are plastic
-Should have a registration number
My Grade school Graduation dress
My graduation dress from grade school was sewn by my God mother Mrs. C ( I know it looks fancy for grade school but that's what all the girls wanted to wear). The pattern was from McCalls and the design of the dress was inspired by Lady Diana's wedding gown.  It's not an exact replica but there are some hints of inspiration in the detail. The dress I have on is not a copy I consider it an inspiration of the gown Lady Diana wore on her wedding day. The whole world saw that beautiful gown she wore and almost every bride to be wanted to walk down the aisle in that dress. Well I wasn't a bride but I wanted the look of that dress for my grade school graduation.

Me in my grade school graduation dress


Lady Diana in her wedding gown


  1. Great post with a lot of good information, love your grade school pic a fashionista even back in the day huh? LOL too cute!

  2. Thanks Natasha. Yes, I am a fashionista! He! He!