Fashion Forgery / by Cinthia Contreras


opying and imitation are nothing new in Fashion. No matter what guise it takes, getting ‘inspiration’ from others or ‘interpreting’ their ideas in a new way all comes down to the same thing - one brand using another’s concepts and therefore making the original idea less recognizable (as shown in “The imitation game” post a few weeks ago). Now that we are all slaves to images and social media, recognizable aesthetics are the new currency.  

Levi’s has reportedly accused Kenzo of trademark infringement for using labels on the back pockets of its jeans - something usually associated with Levi’s. Off-White is (some would say rather ironically) suing online merchants selling fakes. The list goes on and it’s no surprise. After all since mass production became a thing and audiences have been hungry to get their hands on the latest designs at rock bottom prices, copies and counterfeiting have soared. Chains such as H&M and Zara have actually built their businesses by unashamedly and openly reproducing designs from the catwalk (and elsewhere…). And their goods literally fly out of stores.

So what exactly does this mean? It means that now more than ever, brands and designers have to move mountains to guard their designs and more importantly, the features that make their products stand out. Because much as a lawsuit might call a brand out, once the ideas have been copied, the damage is already done. So everything from conception to marketing has to be orchestrated in such a way that people recognise the original product as the original, even when other brands (try to) poach and pimp it. In an age where secrets are almost impossible to keep, it also means that it is going to be increasingly hard for brands to be and stay unique...

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