Last week, the internet was ablaze with fashionable fury after independent jewellery designers Tatty Devine posted this on their blog. The post compares their own designs with pieces bought from high street chain Claire’s Accessories, and the results are clear to see. The post sparked outrage on social media (as did Claire’s terrible handing of the backlash – deleting comments and blocking users is NOT the way to go!), but it was Hayley’s post that got me thinking about the issue in a wider sense.
There have been lots of cases of plagiarism in fashion because the aspects that make up iconic designs – prints, colours, shapes – are so hard to protect. Should Louboutin’s shade of red be made for exclusive use on his own soles? He thinks so. And Tiffany think the same about their duck egg blue. So when does a design cross the line from simple inspiration into copycat territory?
Image from Justin Ornella’s Flickr
In my mind, a copycat is something that attempts to imitate the original. Like the LV bags hanging from market stalls, ‘Burberry’ check baseball caps with tracksuits and YSL Arty rings for £5.99, it’s this kind of plagiarism that cheapens luxury brands. In comparison, Miu Miu featured animal printed pieces in their SS10 collection which eventually filtered down to the high street and became a big hit for brands like New Look. The dresses and blouses sold on the high street weren’t direct copies of Miu Miu’s styles, and they weren’t pretending to be actual Miu Miu designs. That animal print started on the catwalk and formed a trend for the season, shaping collections from both ends of the fashion spectrum.
What do you think about plagiarism in the fashion industry? Is it an exploitation of talent, or something to be expected from one of the world’s biggest businesses? Share your thoughts in the comments.