Welcome back to my blog. Today I thought I would do a post on imitation/copying in the fashion industry, discussing my views on the topic. If you want to find out what I think, then please keep on reading!
The inspiration behind me writing this post was from a recent project at university, where we were advised to take inspiration from other brands in order to create our own. But that’s all it was-inspiration. So, where is the line between being inspired by someone else’s work, to straight up copying it without giving credit? Recently, I have seen an ever-growing amount of brands who seem to be copying others. These have been drawn to my attention from my own discoveries, as well as an account on Instagram called ‘Diet Prada’. The account, for those who don’t know, focuses on exposing fashion brands that seem to have taken a little too much inspiration from others; whether it be a photo shoot or the product itself. They compare the ‘original’ to the imitation. I find it rather interesting to see how many brands openly copy others. Obviously they would never admit to doing so, but I think that it is strange that they think no one will notice that they have done so. They may admit to ‘taking inspiration’ from another designer or photographer etc., but I am unsure how similar two things can be before a line has to be drawn. However, despite this I do think that some cases of ‘copying’ are a lot worse than others; I believe that it is worse for well established high-end brands to openly rip off independent designers for example, in comparison to a low-end/high-street brand such as PrettyLittleThing, to mimic a big named brand, like they did with Kanye West’s collection. My reasoning is because the target consumer for brands like Missguided etc. will be worlds apart from that of the original product/piece by the high-end brand like Gucci. Therefore, there is no competition between the two in terms of sales; aka Missguided won’t be stealing customers from Gucci because they are targeted at two very different audiences. High-street brands make trends more accessible to younger people/people with a lower income than someone who shops at high-end stores. Is it right for them to copy the high-end brand and sell it for a fraction of the cost? No. I don’t believe that it is. But at the same time I don’t think that taking inspiration from bigger more expensive to buy brand is as bad as when I high-end copies the work of an independent designer/photographer/stylist etc. Their name isn’t established. They aren’t well-known. They don’t have the big budgets/income to take legal action if they were copied. I have seen it so many times where even university students’ work has been stolen by established brands/ other designers, slightly altered and then passed off as their own. I don’t understand it! How don’t they feel guilty for doing this? The small/ independent designers may be trying to get their name & their work out there, how are they meant to do this successfully if their work is being stolen & used without their permission or knowledge? Moreover, I definitely disagree with ‘fakes’, such as when market stalls sell fake versions of handbags, makeup etc.. Inspiration is okay, but physically copying the brands pattern, logo, name; that isn’t. ESPECIALLY when it comes to beauty products because you never know what ingredients are in the fake versions, for example some may be harmful& consumers won’t know.
Overall, I do think there is an arguable line between brands taking inspiration from other brands or designers, but where that line actually sits in the industry is questionable.
Let me know what you think on the topic! It would be good to here more opinions than just my own.
Thanks for reading,