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13-02-2011
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purplethistle's Avatar
 
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Referencing vs. Plagiarism Where is the line drawn?
I have to say that looking at quite a few NY F/W 11.12 collections so far I've felt at times that I've been looking at a collection that has been a whole lot more than just referencing and we're only half way through the week

You hear of plagiarism law suits in other creative areas like writing, music, art work etc. Which have their natural limitations in what new things can be explored (pitch, colour, materials etc.), yet more often than not the finished product is often very unique. But fashion seems to have a ridiculous amount of referencing, recycling would it be fair for a designer to sue another one for 'copying' intellectual property? If so how similar or different would the clothes etc. have to be? Where would you draw the line between a collection or item reminding you of something else and shameless rip-off of someone else?


Last edited by purplethistle; 13-02-2011 at 08:15 PM.
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13-02-2011
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Thats the interesting thing about the fashion industry, if someone was to call something their own and stop someone from doing a slight variation in it, hundreds of thousands if not millions would be out of a job and would have a monopoly on that part of the industry.

As much as I dislike the idea of someone or fast fashion copying someone else's work, it is like a necessary evil. Some dresses out there, you can copy the style but as for the fabric, it might nearly impossible to find something similar (more on the lines of couture). Also some designers bring back the past from what they grew up with or what the fashion house did years ago.

I am sure many of you will take offence to my comment "necessary evil". I know this will be completely off base but it is still theft; during my fashion show, I did a kids dress and right after the show someone stole it. I was upset, but now it is amusing someone loved my work so much they actually had to have it. Luckily I haven't noticed any kids dressed that were similar to it.


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15-02-2011
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The only thing that really bothers me is the fact that the critics are giving good reviews to these designers instead of calling them out .

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15-02-2011
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^ That kind of thing drives me insane. I understand its hard to come up with something new but a rave review for something thats been done before or copied beyond disbelieve is just as uncalled for as turning a blind eye to a kid hitting another kid.

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16-02-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by modela View Post
The only thing that really bothers me is the fact that the critics are giving good reviews to these designers instead of calling them out .
To me this is the real issue.

While in principle, I would support potential copyright/intellectual property laws within the fashion industry, it will simply never happen and it's completely impractical, as ettebe has stated. A "necessary evil," to be sure. It's been said many times before, and it still rings true that there is nothing truly new in fashion. There's only so many ways a sleeve can be cut and sewn. Because of this, when a designer creates, they either subconsciously or consciously are referencing the past, the present, other designers, personal memories, etc. and because of that there are bound to be similarities or correlations between collections of the past to the present.

Now, fast fashion (a la TopShop, H&M, Zara, etc.) and their whole schtick doesn't necessarily bother me. It's more amusing than anything else. What really gets me miffed, though, is when designers blatantly copy the work of their peers, and subsequently are not called out on it.

The best example of this in recent memory is Joseph Altuzarra. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw his Fall/Winter 2010 collection. It was a painfully literal and obvious rip off of Tom Ford's epic collection for Gucci Fall/Winter 2003. Some critics did bring up the Tom Ford connection, but all seemed to tip-toe around the issue that this was no "hommage" to Ford, but in fact a seam-for-seam replication. Certainly, us members here on TFS aren't the only ones with sharp and specific memories fashion come and gone...these critics haven't forgotten Gucci Fall/Winter 2003. What was more shocking, even, than the simple avoidance of the connection was the fact that this collection was almost universally praised!

Then Altazarra's Spring/Summer 2011 collection was, although maybe less blatant, largely influenced by the works of Gaultier, Mugler, Versace and Montana during the 80's and 90's. Again, great reviews.

And now, with Fall/Winter 2011...more positive reviews. Not only positive reviews, but front page write ups in the New York Times style section, CFDA nominations, etc., etc. And from what I can see, Fall/Winter 2011 is essentially a rehash of Galliano's greatest hits.

I'm not sure I understand why journalists and critics aren't more aggressive about this issue. I'm not interested in them pointing out every single "Look-a-Like," but when a collection is uncomfortably similar to the work of another designer, it needs to be brought to attention. If anything, it would probably be more preventative of copying than any law.

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16-02-2011
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no tom ford, no thanks.
 
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"there is nothing new except what has been forgotten," one saying goes. let's not delude ourselves into thinking that yohji yamamoto invented the pant as we know it or coco chanel discovered the color yellow. fashion is nothing but a recycling and a reuse of an endless multitude of tropes and conventions and ideas. the difference between a reference and plagiary remains the very act of acknowledging where one has received it. as long as the artist or the composer makes it plain the reference point, then it should satisfy the critics, because, after all, not all novel works remain great works. tom ford put forward some of the best work of his life while he openly acknowledged how the legacies of halston and saint laurent informed his ouevre. nicolas ghesquiere continues to stultify us with his brilliance despite his clear references and his bold derivations. it's not the work of the critic to point out these references except if she intends to point out the references in every single critque, after all, the basis for much of the deconstruction of these shows comes in their impact to the marketplace and the resonance it has with a modern world, even if it's a hackneyed idea from decades' ago. who can forget dolce and gabbana's spectacular (fall/winter 2006) show where they clad their men in nineteenth century militaria and their women in the same. no one would argue that they came up with this stuff in a dream. they borrowed. they referenced. they cited. they tweaked.

the real plagiarism comes from the low end where retailers don't get "inspired" by designs but literally copy them and sell them as their own without giving credit to the original designer. and it's not subtle. these retailers literally send out their armies of well trained and highly educated copycats to the shows and to the shops and have them literally pick apart the garments, fashion them into patterns, and ship them off to sweatshops for mass production. that's the plagiarism. let altuzarra reference tom ford all he likes....he acknowledges it. carine roitfeld, one of tom ford's biggest allies (and part of that creative team all those years ago), sat proudly in his front row. but someone has to do something about the big box retailer that will take even that dress and ship it off to a central american factory to get produced for the masses without the hint of credit or shame for that matter.

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Last edited by mikeijames; 16-02-2011 at 09:47 AM.
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16-02-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeijames View Post
"there is nothing new except what has been forgotten," one saying goes. let's not delude ourselves into thinking that yohji yamamoto invented the pant as we know it or coco chanel discovered the color yellow. fashion is nothing but a recycling and a reuse of an endless multitude of tropes and conventions and ideas. the difference between a reference and plagiary remains the very act of acknowledging where one has received it. as long as the artist or the composer makes it plain the reference point, then it should satisfy the critics, because, after all, not all novel works remain great works. tom ford put forward some of the best work of his life while he openly acknowledged how the legacies of halston and saint laurent informed his ouevre. nicolas ghesquiere continues to stultify us with his brilliance despite his clear references and his bold derivations. it's not the work of the critic to point out these references except if she intends to point out the references in every single critque, after all, the basis for much of the deconstruction of these shows comes in their impact to the marketplace and the resonance it has with a modern world, even if it's a hackneyed idea from decades' ago. who can forget dolce and gabbana's spectacular (fall/winter 2006) show where they clad their men in nineteenth century militaria and their women in the same. no one would argue that they came up with this stuff in a dream. they borrowed. they referenced. they cited. they tweaked.

the real plagiarism comes from the low end where retailers don't get "inspired" by designs but literally copy them and sell them as their own without giving credit to the original designer. and it's not subtle. these retailers literally send out their armies of well trained and highly educated copycats to the shows and to the shops and have them literally pick apart the garments, fashion them into patterns, and ship them off to sweatshops for mass production. that's the plagiarism. let altuzarra reference tom ford all he likes....he acknowledges it. carine roitfeld, one of tom ford's biggest allies (and part of that creative team all those years ago), sat proudly in his front row. but someone has to do something about the big box retailer that will take even that dress and ship it off to a central american factory to get produced for the masses without the hint of credit or shame for that matter.
I disagree with this, I think it's much worse for a high-end designer to copy from another designer than a high street store to do it. Most high street stores now have websites where they say "Did you see Such&Such Designer's collection? Get that style here!" - They'll acknowledge that they 'borrow' their ideas. And honestly these high street stores are there purely so that people can be fashionable at a lesser cost, because actually in real life, most people can't afford to buy a Miu Miu skirt, but they can afford a similar one from H&M instead.
If you're already a high end designer, well it's your JOB to produce original work, not blatantly copy off someone else. It's alright to say in interviews 'Ohh... I get sooo inspired when I look at so and sos work' but for goodness sake, do your own thing instead of copying that person.

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17-02-2011
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no tom ford, no thanks.
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emma Naomi View Post
I disagree with this, I think it's much worse for a high-end designer to copy from another designer than a high street store to do it. Most high street stores now have websites where they say "Did you see Such&Such Designer's collection? Get that style here!" - They'll acknowledge that they 'borrow' their ideas. And honestly these high street stores are there purely so that people can be fashionable at a lesser cost, because actually in real life, most people can't afford to buy a Miu Miu skirt, but they can afford a similar one from H&M instead.

If you're already a high end designer, well it's your JOB to produce original work, not blatantly copy off someone else. It's alright to say in interviews 'Ohh... I get sooo inspired when I look at so and sos work' but for goodness sake, do your own thing instead of copying that person.
we'll have to agree to disagree. if you go inside a high end designer's studio, you will find them agonizing over fabric choices, pulling their hair out over finishes, poring over reference points, inspirations, and their houses catalog. within that context, they also know they have to design x number of this garment because that's what sells in their new york store and design x number of that garment because it's their bread-and-butter in japan while satisfying these editors from these big box magazine while satisfying the mainstream and hollywood appetites. in this atmosphere, they still come up with something that feels new, represents them as a designer, and strikes its audience as fresh. for that creative labor, they charge the appropriate amounts so that they can continue the process for the next show.

how dare some big chain who has little-to-no interest in the idea of fashion and could care less about providing a service to their customer come in and copy that hard work in the name of making a quick buck. stella mccartney designs a handbag that recalls syrupy memories of her times with her grandmother; she hands off that vision to italian artisans who convert that dream into reality using treasured techniques passed down to them through the decades; and then she presents these gorgeous pieces in stores that in and of themselves stir the imagination with cutting edge architecture and walls hung with compelling art. that's the process of high-end luxury. it's something to believe in. so for h+m to take that purse, deconstruct it, and mass produce it on the backs of slave labor just so that they can improve their bottom line by selling it to people who don't even know who stella mccartney is, could not identify italian handiwork if it slapped them in the face, and could care less about the arts or architecture and just want a bag to throw their baby bottles in as they push their stroller cheapens the entire enterprise.

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18-02-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dior_couture1245 View Post
To me this is the real issue.

While in principle, I would support potential copyright/intellectual property laws within the fashion industry, it will simply never happen and it's completely impractical, as ettebe has stated. A "necessary evil," to be sure. It's been said many times before, and it still rings true that there is nothing truly new in fashion. There's only so many ways a sleeve can be cut and sewn. Because of this, when a designer creates, they either subconsciously or consciously are referencing the past, the present, other designers, personal memories, etc. and because of that there are bound to be similarities or correlations between collections of the past to the present.

Now, fast fashion (a la TopShop, H&M, Zara, etc.) and their whole schtick doesn't necessarily bother me. It's more amusing than anything else. What really gets me miffed, though, is when designers blatantly copy the work of their peers, and subsequently are not called out on it.

The best example of this in recent memory is Joseph Altuzarra. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw his Fall/Winter 2010 collection. It was a painfully literal and obvious rip off of Tom Ford's epic collection for Gucci Fall/Winter 2003. Some critics did bring up the Tom Ford connection, but all seemed to tip-toe around the issue that this was no "hommage" to Ford, but in fact a seam-for-seam replication. Certainly, us members here on TFS aren't the only ones with sharp and specific memories fashion come and gone...these critics haven't forgotten Gucci Fall/Winter 2003. What was more shocking, even, than the simple avoidance of the connection was the fact that this collection was almost universally praised!

Then Altazarra's Spring/Summer 2011 collection was, although maybe less blatant, largely influenced by the works of Gaultier, Mugler, Versace and Montana during the 80's and 90's. Again, great reviews.

And now, with Fall/Winter 2011...more positive reviews. Not only positive reviews, but front page write ups in the New York Times style section, CFDA nominations, etc., etc. And from what I can see, Fall/Winter 2011 is essentially a rehash of Galliano's greatest hits.

I'm not sure I understand why journalists and critics aren't more aggressive about this issue. I'm not interested in them pointing out every single "Look-a-Like," but when a collection is uncomfortably similar to the work of another designer, it needs to be brought to attention. If anything, it would probably be more preventative of copying than any law.
Sadly this is all true, I wonder what happened to the bill that was introduced to give copyright protection to designers for up to the three years and how far it got in the House or was it just shelved. I also understand as a journalist you need to have a non-bias but someone needs to speak out about the lack of originality some of these designers have and call them out for it.

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19-02-2011
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I kinda posed something similar to this topic on the Marc Jacobs FW 11 thread. I know we are not supposed to post images here, but Banksy was spot on


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19-02-2011
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There is very little that is new in fashion. Some people's memories only go back to the Prada collection from 3 years ago. Anyone who does a certain pattern or whimsical print is accused of copying because people have no concept of history beyond the very recent. If several designers reference the same historical point in fashion history their lines may look similar. When a designer has been in business more than a decade and they are accused of copying someone who's been on the scene two minutes I have to laugh at times. Most designers at some point go back to their own archives.

I think it's exciting for some people to create these sinister plots of designers copying others but most of the time I'd say it's not the case.

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19-02-2011
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I don't mind a designer going back to the archives and reviving something. I don't consider that plagiarism, instead I consider it as using something that the house was built from and therefore referencing no matter how similar the 'new' thing is to the 'old'. However, getting something that was 'trendy' from another house I'd consider it as a form of stealing especially if you don't make any noticeable improvements. Copying a motif or aesthetic is fine by me.

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22-02-2011
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honestly I really don t understand why designers want to imitate others ... in that case one have to ask why they wanted to became a designer ... just for appreciation ? just for being accepted by others ?
I am personally a designer because there is no designer out there who exactly makes that kind of stuff out of whose my dreams are made out of it .. ^^

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25-02-2011
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i think to be horribly blunt all designers want o make designs they love. but they have to be sellable and if they see something which another designer did well then...they prob will copy it

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06-03-2011
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I think Celine is always pretty bad about copying. This last collection is a mix of Helmut Lang, Balenciaga, Prada, Alexander McQueen, among others...


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