Combatting Copycats

Insight into the congressional step towards protecting designers and what it means for the bargain-hunting consumer.

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16 August 2010

Global retail consumers are comfortably used to purchasing designer like prints and styles from retailers like H&M, Forever 21, Mango and more. For less than a nice dinner out, you can score a whole outfit that looks scary similar to styles fresh off the runway. Designers are disgusted with the efficiency copy cat designs go from runway to retail. Because the copycats are lower quality and far from luxury, low end retailers can churn them out even faster than designer masterminds can make them. For the designers, it’s a travesty that rips them of their artistic uniqueness and violates their uniqueness. For consumers, it’s a treat especially in a recession recovering economy.

runway

Until Senator Charles E. Shumer introduced a congressional bill that would provide some protection against copycatting for designers. The Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act, supported by the CFDA. The bill provides limited intellectual property protection to the most original design. In addition to apparel and footwear designer, the new law would cover handbags, belts and sunglasses for three years from the time it is seen on the runway. Color, patterns and graphic images are factors used in determining the uniqueness of a design, and according to several sources familiar with the proposed bill, there are strict specifications for what qualify as unique and will require designers to consistently move towards innovation. The bill aims to be a deterrent for copying designs and has bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.

For the consumer, does it means no more faux DVF dresses for $19.99? Probably not. The bar for unique designs is set high and only applies to designs moving forward. Maybe copycat designs help the economy because they lead to higher sales of apparel nationwide. Traditionally, copying has created more demand for innovation, but many people complain that styles are changing too quickly making designers pressured and unable to quickly produce the quality formerly characteristic of high end designers.

Emma Dinzebach


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Posted by Emma Dinzebach at 12:00 AM
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