Balenciaga joins the piracy trend - the Fashion Spot
 
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18-06-2009
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Balenciaga joins the piracy trend
from Jezebel.com:

Balenciaga Rips Off San Francisco Designer

By TatianaTheAnonymousModel, 5:00 PM on Thu Jun 18 2009, 4,615 views (Edit post, Set to draft, Slurp) Copy this whole post to another site
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Homage, inspiration, and knock-off are adjoining territories, and not yet satisfactorily explored. Like obscenity or other great things in life, most people feel they know a rip-off when they see it. Well, take a look:
This is a "Parrot" jacket, by East West Musical Instruments, the misleadingly-named San Francisco-based specialty leather goods company that operated in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Notice how the patchwork leather on the shoulders and collar almost looks like two parrots in profile, their heads bent around the wearer's neck.
East West Musical Instruments specialized in intricately pieced jackets, and sold to the likes of Janis Joplin, Iggy Pop, and John Bonham; New York's hipster mayor, John Lindsay, even had one. These days, an East West jacket can sell for $1,000-$5,000 on eBay or at auction.
Which brings us to this jacket, presented this Monday in New York as part of Balenciaga's 2010 Resort collection.



Other bloggers have already taken note of this jacket's strong resemblance to the East West offering above.
It's not the first time Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquière has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar of 70s American rock 'n' roll style. In Ghesquière's Spring, 2002, ready-to-wear collection, then Hintmag intern (and current anti-comfort activist) Sameer Reddy noticed striking similarities between Ghesquière's patchwork collection and the work of San Francisco designer Kaisik Wong, because he just happened to be looking through a book of Wong's work at the right moment. Similarities down to the placement of tassels and the shape of the patches.




Balenciaga Spring 2002



Kaisik Wong
Ghesquière admitted his pilfering to Cathy Horyn at the New York Times, telling her "I did it — yes." Unabashed, the designer even said, "I'm very flattered that people are looking at my sources of inspiration."
In this case, Ghesquière is not the only person looking to East West Musical Instruments for "inspiration." Urban Outfitters' Pins & Needles brand, which states clearly on its website that it "takes inspiration from a broad range of exquisite vintage and costume pieces, dating from early 19th to mid 20th century," copied the "Parrot" jacket earlier this year. (Its $298 version is now sold out.)



But Balenciaga, a high-fashion brand currently owned by the multinational PPR, and which acts swiftly when its own copyrights are infringed (for example with the much-copied Balenciaga "Motorcycle" bag), makes no such admission. Balenciaga posits itself as far more than mere knock-offs of vintage items; it's a fashion house that makes some claim to the originality of its designs — "inspiration" aside, when a designer of Ghesquière's talents is involved, you expect him to do his own work.
Or do you? Some would argue that, in our post-modern, post-Warhol, post-Grey Album age, that copying is no big deal. (This is not the view Balenciaga takes as regards its purses, but it is what some people say. Harold Koda, the curator of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, said Ghesquière's copy of Wong's work was an example of the Belgian "just rummaging through extant material culture and juxtaposing it with other things to create something different.") Some even argue that knock-offs force source designers to design more, and design better. And the fact that the East West Musical Instruments is extinct could, to some, seem like an excuse for the copy — and the Balenciaga jacket, with its only slightly adapted collar, is certainly a copy. If a book is out of print and unable to be obtained, in a way it seems only fair for someone else to republish it. But that person really ought, in good conscience, to leave the original author's name on the manuscript.
American fashion designers are currently pushing, via the Design Piracy Act, for the inclusion of their intellectual property under the umbrella of copyright law. They argue that their original ideas are currently too easy fodder for knock-off artists like Forever 21 (who had a very near miss, via hung jury, on a copyright case brought by Trovata earlier this year) and the many, many other brands who take prints, patterns, and other design features directly from the runway without acknowledgment or apology. A high-end designer getting caught stealing from someone else's archives — again — can't but hurt that case.
Balenciaga's Nicholas Ghesquire Copies Again [Addicted to YSL]
Is Copying Really a Part of the Creative Process? [NYTimes]

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18-06-2009
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is this hurting the company ?
is nicolas a big evil villian ?
i don't get it.

in the end, everything we are wearing till now from h&m to dior. is a "copied" pattern or fabric or print taken back from the past and just maybe twitched a bit to fit the modern people.

and i don't see this as a BIG problem. if the customers are happy and the company is filling $$$$,then i don't see it as a big problem. and if this is helping the economy.

well nicolas did put his head into this. he took a chance to "copy", he knew his name will be at stake but he knew that he could take a risk. he did, and it is not like he is alone in this.

we can complain and keep on but i don't see where this "problem" is going to.

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18-06-2009
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To me, there is a fine but clear line between being inspired by something and knocking it off. This jacket, imo, doesn't quite cross it. Yes, it's similar, and was no doubt inspired by the vintage ones, but there are differences in the two jackets, more than just the collar that the article acknowledges. The Balenciaga one isn't a carbon copy and therefore the jacket isn't what was knocked off, it was the idea, and for better or worse that's a big part of what keeps fashion going.

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18-06-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spike413 View Post
To me, there is a fine but clear line between being inspired by something and knocking it off. This jacket, imo, doesn't quite cross it. Yes, it's similar, and was no doubt inspired by the vintage ones, but there are differences in the two jackets, more than just the collar that the article acknowledges. The Balenciaga one isn't a carbon copy and therefore the jacket isn't what was knocked off, it was the idea, and for better or worse that's a big part of what keeps fashion going.
While you make a very valid point. The Balenciaga doesn't take the design to a new level. Nicolas is one of the designers who is looked to for what is new and fresh and this isn't obviously. So that is where I have a problem with this.

He basically copied the jacket so I don't see how that keeps fashion moving forward.

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19-06-2009
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What is the exact age of the jacket? Reason I ask is because Jean Claude Jitrois was doing very similar jackets during the same period, as well as I have also seen some similar ones from I believe the 50s!

Very little in fashion is unique if you spend enough time looking.

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19-06-2009
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I agree with Spike .. the matter to me is how do they go off suing whoever buys or sells their counterfeited goods ... it is slightly hypocritical ..

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19-06-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spike413 View Post
To me, there is a fine but clear line between being inspired by something and knocking it off. This jacket, imo, doesn't quite cross it. Yes, it's similar, and was no doubt inspired by the vintage ones, but there are differences in the two jackets, more than just the collar that the article acknowledges. The Balenciaga one isn't a carbon copy and therefore the jacket isn't what was knocked off, it was the idea, and for better or worse that's a big part of what keeps fashion going.
it is not a carbon copy but the resemblance is more than enough. i dont think a brand like Balenciaga is supposed to have that kind of similarities with other brands. it is a fact that almost every designer "gets inspired" not to say copies others peoples work but i wouldnt expect this from such a high end brand like Balenciaga, not because in the internet era everybody would find out but because it isnt supposed to happen, maybe with RL or Zara but not with Balenciaga or similar. theres other ways to deconstruct actually clothes and make something completely different, yet similar out of it, they just went and rip it off. not happy


Last edited by daniellat; 19-06-2009 at 05:29 PM.
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19-06-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reese06 View Post
While you make a very valid point. The Balenciaga doesn't take the design to a new level. Nicolas is one of the designers who is looked to for what is new and fresh and this isn't obviously. So that is where I have a problem with this.

He basically copied the jacket so I don't see how that keeps fashion moving forward.
That's a different story entirely, and I completely agree.

I just take issue with the article claiming that it's a knock off when it really isn't. It's a reworked vintage piece, something that's extremely common in fashion, and the most Ghesquiere can be accused of is being lazy and unimaginative.

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22-06-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spike413 View Post
To me, there is a fine but clear line between being inspired by something and knocking it off. This jacket, imo, doesn't quite cross it. Yes, it's similar, and was no doubt inspired by the vintage ones, but there are differences in the two jackets, more than just the collar that the article acknowledges. The Balenciaga one isn't a carbon copy and therefore the jacket isn't what was knocked off, it was the idea, and for better or worse that's a big part of what keeps fashion going.
Isn't the idea of the jacket being knocked off the problem? In the end the idea of the jacket is the jacket. I would even compare this to those Margiela t-shirts from a few seasons ago. While I love what Nicolas does, I completely agree that he was lazy in doing this, and seeing as it isn't the first time he's done something like this...

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22-06-2009
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^ Not imo. Knocking off the jacket would simply be making a carbon copy of it, an exact replica. Knocking off the idea would be taking it and changing a few things and essentially making a new thing from the unoriginal parts.

I simply do not see them as being the same thing.

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24-06-2009
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until this country has clear-cut copyright and trademark restrictions regarding fashion, this stuff is fair game. in poor taste, maybe, but in a country that breast feeds mass market copycats like bebe, express, arden b, max studio, bcbg, h+m, zara, forever 21, topshop, charlotte russe, et al, we really don't have room to complain unless we enforce this standard against everyone.

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25-06-2009
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that's kinda sad.

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27-06-2009
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The company which originally did the design is defunct, the design is more of an homage than a direct copy, and "design" per se cannot be patented, though logos and trademarks can be--thus not all quilted square leather bags are Chanel, etc. Lovely jacket, btw.

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27-06-2009
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This issue is getting irritating. Every once in a while theyll accuse a big designer or "copying" or "pirating" some random piece from the middle of nowhere.

I would be honoured if Nicolas Ghesquire copied my piece

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