Writing 100 - 067
December 5th 2016
That dress looks like a Balmain: Plagiarism in the Fashion Industry
This essay explores the different views on what plagiarism means for the fashion industry according to designers and experts on the subject. I present the current protection available by the U.S law for brands and designers: trademarks and patents. Views vary with different points of view on copying, either positive or negative. My examples consist of cases in where designers realized that their designs were plagiarized by either a fast-fashion brand or a high-fashion brand. I further add to the conversation by explaining how consumers are affected by this issue, they are the main reason why fast-fashion brands exist. These findings reveal that designers are not protected enough by the United States law, concecuently, further measures need to be applied in order to prevent designers from getting their intellectual property stolen.
We all have a friend that shops at Forever 21. Why? Because it’s “trendy, cheap and fashionable” say my best friends and even myself. But what is Forever 21 exactly? Forever 21 is the most popular and best representative of what is called a fast-fashion brand. Fast-fashion brands are literally fast, they make sure to copy and produce the most recent trends in high fashion as fast as Usain Bolt runs to come out first in the Olympics. They aim to provide the mass market of cheaper and of poorer quality clothing that imitates almost exactly the latest high fashion designs out in the moment. These copies are called knockoffs. Brands such as Forever 21, H&M, Topshop, Zara, and Gap are the best representatives of the fast-fashion industry. Their production never ceases, the Spanish firm Zara reportedly offers some 10,000 new products a year (…) (Deluxe, 316). The massive amount of clothes they produce are of poorer quality due to the fact that they aim at time, not quality. Their main goal is to provide the consumers of the latest trends that constantly change. On account of this, their clothes are not meant to last for a long period of time.
As fast-fashion brands best depict, the fashion industry does not save itself from plagiarism. In July 21st, Zara, a well-recognized fast-fashion brand, was accused by Tuesday Bassen, an LA based respected designer, for stealing her pins designs. She claims through twitter, “You know what? Sometimes it sucks to be an artist because companies like @Zara consistently rip you off and deny it ” (Bassen). Some designers feel flattered when copied while others like Tuesday are not. Fast-fashion brands find themselves in trouble a lot of times with copying accusations because of course, that is what they do to survive. Because of the lack of copyright laws in the U.S, most of the time, they get away with it. However, these brands aren’t the only ones to copy from the designers at the top of the food chain, recognized designers copy from...