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Fashion Copyrights

Yesterday while reading the Sydney Morning Herald online, I came across and interesting article by Ezra Klein entitled “In fashion copyright, the knock-off wins”.   The article made a interesting point of saying the consumers will be the losers if the bill that is before the US Senate right now which wants to extend copyright protections to the Fashion Industry.

In basic terms it means,  that you love the Alexander Wang Rocco bag (I mean who doesn’t) but you don’t want to pay a lot of money for your handbags so you go to Sportsgirl and buy their copy for a fraction of the cost.  Under the legislation put forth by United States Senator Charles Schumer’s (if the legislation is also adopted by the Australian Government) the Sportsgirl imitation would be illegal.  For the first three years only Alexander Wang would be able to profit from his designs.

But as Ezra Klein points our “what if copying is a good thing?”  Are the knockoffs stealing profit from the original Designer.

As regular readers of this blog know, I have a good mix in my wardrobe of designer originals and designer knockoffs.  A lot of my purchase decisions are made on the fact that I live in Australia and sometimes the only item available to me is the copy but a lot of the times I just don’t want to pay $700 US ($790 AUD) for a pair of shoes.  So the $150 copy, or tribute as I like to say, is more palatable.   

I also believe that Fast fashion retailers and designers are not competing for same target market.   And Designers themselves are seeing that more people are shopping at discount retailers and are designing diffusion lines for them to keep their names in the market place and to expand their profit making ability.

Ezra Klein also accurately points out that creating knockoffs speeds up innovation because designers need to create new fresh designs to keep ahead of the fast fashion retailers.

Copyright laws more often than not are used to protect profits at the expense of the consumer.  I’d love to hear your comments on this issue.

To read Ezra Klein’s article click here

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Amazing. It’s something that needs to be discussed among the fashion community and regular people. I am really glad you have posted this on the blogosphere. You are ahead of the game Lenya. I think for it to be a relevant discussion be magazines need to start talking about this issue.

    Another point is that a lot of fashion bloggers mix and match their looks using both designer and designer copy. For me this signifies that fashion is not as exclusive as it used to be. Capsule collections are happening everywhere.

    P.S Shops like Zara, Topshop, Ubran Outfitters and H&M are all on top of this.

    August 26, 2010
    • Mr Sachs, you are right, the magazines need to take up this conversation cause its their readers that will loose out if this legislation goes through

      August 27, 2010
  2. Hi there-I’m guilty of being the same as you to be honest, I could never afford the designer originals on a regular basis 😉

    August 26, 2010
    • Hey Sharon, thanks for commenting. This conversation needs to start happening. Cause the average person doesn’t have the money to buy the designer original and fast fashion brings good design to the masses. Where would we be without the Topshops of the world.

      August 27, 2010

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