Cut it, copycats! But we all have a responsibility
To draw inspiration is one thing, but upright copying of a design is something completely different. However, drawing a line between the two can be incredibly hard. Frankly, in the end its up to the court of justice to decide. The problem is just that a law suit might be a tedious and expensive process to go through, and it may therefore, only be worth it, if you really stand to gain something. Not that Kering group owned Balenciaga (see picture above) need the funds, but you get the point. What this leaves us with, is a market where copycat brands to some extent have a free pass. It is thus up to us consumers and the retailers to reject such copycat brands. But that is easier said than done.
Before going any further, I’m not as judgemental as for example Diet Prada, though I highly admire what they are doing! I tend to see design more as movements, rather than stand alone pieces. However, this does not reject the value of the unique pieces. They still have to be respected. If you as a designer are not able to respect the work of other designers within a particular stream of designs, then you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing. So, Jeffrey Campbell, this is NOT okay!
We (mortal) consumers usually don’t have the funds to go on a constant splurge on high-end designer goods. Some do, but not the majority! This means that when a opportunity proposes it self for a quick fix, we consumers may end up taking it, as it might be the closest we come to the real deal. However, as we do this, we fuel the companies ripping off designers across the world. We need to shield the creative ideas!
Likewise, for the retailers. The designs copied are usually the most key trend pieces, meaning that there is usually a big demand for these pieces at a ‘reasonable’ price. This is thus an argument for retailers to push these copycat designs through their sales channels for a quick buck. Nonetheless, the retailers also have an obligation as they are gate keepers of what goods are available to the consumers. If a store sells these knockoff goods, they are thus advocating a culture of copycat designs! Depending on what store that you are, this may also really hurt your reputation. If you are eg. a luxury platform that all of a sudden pushes copycat designs, then you truly show that you don’t care about your customers as all of a sudden you are devaluating the designer pieces (also the ones already sold).
Yeah thats right, in mind of the consumers, the original designer good is no-longer worth the same. If you all of a sudden can buy a super-super similar to a fraction of the initial price, and everybody buys into it, what is then so special about the original, except for probably the price? The original designer piece no longer sets the consumer apart from the masses. Evenmore, the consumers who actually saved up for their designer pieces, may feel screwed over, as they may feel they have wasted their money.
What is your opinion on the matter?
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