I agree with Menance, and I feel a little glad that the 'originality' is not SO original that the clothes become unwearable, I think designers COULD be so original in that they are making shirts out of pizzas or attatching a computer to a hat or making pants out of bricks and chocolate but I agree that it is difficult to be 100% innovative when you have to work with fabrics and there is only 1 shape of the human body and you want to flatter that body
another interesting point got teased out in a profile on nicholas ghesquiere in the march issue of w magazine: designers themselves, even the best, get very inspired by ideas found in other media like architecture or sculpture or photography or painting. so while it might "feel" novel in the eyes of the fashion watcher, it may actually come directly from the lips of another artist or architect or furniture designer or indigenous craftswoman etcetera. and who knows what originally inspired that artist to create her work? inspiration leads to inspiration leads to inspiration. in the end, there's nothing new under the sun.
everything is never quite enough.
This is the normal information processing by humans, but the thing is inspirations lead to different outputs in different humans. In my opinion this next step is the individual and new accomplishment. You can’t come up with quantum mechanics if you aren’t aware of the Newton's laws. Frank Lloyd Wright wouldn’t have come up with the Imperial Hotel without experiencing Japanese Architecture, nevertheless he created something new.
The problem with fashion (and art) is that the individual accomplishments can be very subtle and maybe even individually reinvented over time… To come up with the design of a bag is rather easy
I think, all too often, when a designer is called-out for plagiarism, on here; it is actually not true plagiarism, as such, but just a following of the zeitgeist (via trend forecasts, or not).
Although I'm sure plagiarism does exist, I think a lot of accusations of it are rather (or very) unfair.
Based on what I see, most of the people who accuse designer X of ripping off designer Y from two seasons ago, have very little fashion history under their belt! Many times the thinking is that designer X is so original and so unique that everyone else must be streets behind.
One of my favorite examples ever was the recent Vionnet revival. Someone actually had the nerve to say that was a rip off of NG's Balenciaga. Apparently they were NOT familiar w/ either Madame Vionnet's style or the era in which she was designing, but that collection was a rather faithful resurfacing of her 20s-30s aesthetic.
It's very easy to lob "copy cat" when your fashion knowledge is limited to about 2004-present.
I think Zara did go a little too far. The only picture that I wouldn't have considered plagiarism is the one with the scarves, only because the design is just so basic its probably a staple item in millions of wardrobes. But as a whole and given the season that the Prada collection was for this is just shameless, they didn't even try to use some other colours, which for some pieces would have made me turn a blind eye.
Question: if they react at all, don't designers tend to call foul when another major designer copies them than if a mass market retailer does?
To me fashion can't become fashion unless copying / appropriating / referencing occurs and more food is taken out of a designers mouth (metaphorically speaking) when another luxury designer copies them than if a mass market retailer does, correct?
^i think most of the friction comes when down market brands copy the higher end ready-to-wear houses. design houses like marc jacobs and prada know they have enough of a built in client base that even if someone else appropriates their work, it won't lure away their core customer.
everything is never quite enough.
I agree that that is true about larger houses like Prada, Chanel, Dior, Gucci and others but is that true with smaller houses like Chrstopher Kane, Viktor & Rolf, Haider Ackermann, Balmain, Yamamoto, McQueen, Alaia, Rodarte and others? Would a small luxury designer really be OK with larger luxury designers with their greater name recognition, more marketing funds, possibly lower production costs, broader distribution channels and relationships with editors appropriating their ideas?
Do they really have that much confidence in their core customer base's loyalty? and even if their core customers are loyal, would they not also like the chance to expand their customer base, name recognition and credibility by being the only luxury designer offering that design element, textile or silhouette - at least for a few seasons?
Although it would be absolutely lovely to believe that designers only design to express themselves, or to materialise what only their imaginations can conjure and what not - we also need to remember that a large part of their purpose is to SELL. Obviously if a trend from another house sells well, they would want to adapt that trend into their own collection. I do believe that they shouldn't be so blatant with their adaptations and at least add something to make it belong more to their house rather than the trend, but how many ways could there possibly be to add a trend into your collection, whilst keeping the clothing wearable AND appealing to current buyers? For example, Spring 2011 - a trend I noticed was white from head to toe. Alexander Wang featured an all white ensemble (white pants, white top), as did Bottega Veneta, as did Christian Cota. Now you tell me - how many possible ways is there to change an all-white ensemble and make it look different from the rest, while also maintaining it's usability?
I agree with mikeijames who said that stores such as Zara are big time plagiarisers. It's one thing to imitate trends in a collection, but it's a completely different thing to actually copy the whole collection! I understand that they make high end fashion more available to those who can't afford it, but they can at least be more subtle about it!
I've even read a blogpost (here) about Zara actually taking a fashion blogger's picture without her consent, and plastering it all over their t-shirts. They don't stop at taking collections or themes, but even take popular fashion bloggers' personal pictures without their consent!
Alis Grave Nil - Nothing is heavy to those who have wings click here
Last edited by daisychein; 06-04-2011 at 10:34 AM.
I think that we have to bear in mind that "inspiration" for a collection can come from a trend report, so when you see several houses using the same color palette, textile, silhouette within a season or over a season or two, then that is usually at play.
Zara is a retailer and not a designer and they wholesale copied some of Miuccia Prada's SS 2011 designs because, unlike other stuff she and other designers have sent down runways, the clothes were wearable and accessible, now if they are going around and calling these items, Prata or Paarda, that is an issue. Affluent people are not the only ones who set the trends and I would not be surprised if the retailers who already carry Prada may increase their orders based on Zara's copying of Prada. Most importantly, this solidifies Miuccia Prada's position as a directional designer.
Let's play this out using Louis Vuitton as an example, because quite a few people observed common themes in their FW 2011 collection with other recent and contemporaneous collections, although bear in mind that that may be the trend report phenomenon. OK, if I am a small to mid-size designer and I send something down the runway that Zara copies, as has been stated they are pretty blatant with their copying so the connection is going to be obvious, some smart blogger is going to pick that up and do a sneering post about it, right? That is just increased name recognition, and if the copying is covered enough and buzzed about, I would be willing to bet that the next season there will be more editors and more important editors at the next show, which increases the odds of being featured in an ed or them doing a blurb about the collection /designer and hopefully, eventually increased interest from buyers. Actually, the Zara copying may have directly led to increased interest from the get go. Didn't this to some extent happen when Phoebe Philo was at Chloe?
Now if Louis Vuitton, the largest design house within the largest conglomerate in fashion, appropriates the ideas of another designer, it will get noticed and discussed in the blogosphere, particularly on sites like this but will it get picked up by the mainstream fashion press given who is buttering their bread? Will the ire over the similarities be able to transcend the because Naomi, Kate and a slew of other model faves walked the show and the and because JLo may be doing the campaign? When you pick up a Vogue, whose ads do you see on the first few pages and therefore which design houses do you think have a better shot at being editorialized? Therefore a small-to-mid-size designer may benefit more from Zara appropriating its designs than a larger designer who caters to the same market, and yet it has considerably more resources, connections and recognition.
What Zara did to the blogger was not right, and if she has grounds for legal action, she should sue, did she? I don't condone what Zara did but that did get a decent amount of press / blog / message board coverage and I betcha it raised her profile considerably, that does not make it right but I am just saying that there is a silver cloud. This is kinda the point that I am making, if that photo was considered a good representation of cool, then there is a chance that a savvy blogger with a bigger following will appropriate the vibe into their own street style / 'look at me' images, and since some bloggers these days get invited to fashion shows and are even consulted by muckety-mucks in the fashion industry, there is an incentive for them to try to appear leading edge, and if the inspiration is not coming from within, they may look elsewhere, including lesser known bloggers.
* Although I don't think that this is not a small blog, but I don't think that it is one of the biggies either.
ETA to my previous post:
I don't want to come off as being sanguine about a designer's creative output being appropriated, especially when the appropriation happens without attribution. However it does happen, and it has to happen in order for there to be dynamism when it comes to what is worn on people's backs, but I tend to favor the scenario where the little guy is not getting screwed and is ideally benefiting. I follow the fashion industry intermittently, so I know stuff but there are gaps, but I don't recall there being a lot of angst on the part of designers having their ideas appropriated by large retailers, now there is a lot of over their actual labels being knocked off, where someone actually bootlegs / knocks off the label, i.e., copies the design, logo and label and tries to represent an item as being made by the luxury retailer, but that is a different can of worms.