Blog: Leonie BarrieDesign protection a double-edged sword?

Leonie Barrie | 20 August 2007

While plans to protect fashion designs from cheap copies and knockoffs for the first time might seem like a good idea on paper, the reality is more like trying to answer the question “How long is a piece of string.”

US lawmakers want the Design Piracy Prohibition Act to extend current copyright protection – which already covers things like logos, lettering or an identifying mark such as embroidery – to the entire design of a garment. But their plans seem to have been drawn up without any comprehension of the industry they’re trying to protect.

It’s a well-known fact that all designers, whether at the top or bottom ends of the market, are all feeding from the same inspirations as they attempt to tap into the mood of consumers, be it long-term colour and fabric forecasts or dipping into everything from the art world to the ‘street’ in an attempt to hit the right emotional temperature.

So at what point does one designer start a trend that inspires another? Or when does a copy become a homage? All designs are, to a large extent, simply an evolution of what’s gone before.

And what about the logistics and enforcement of the law? At what point does a garment be copyrightable – sketched on a design pad, at first sample, or in the retail store? And who is going to check the millions of garments designed each year for copyright?

Designers like to argue that knockoffs eat into sales, tarnish a brand, and make it more difficult for young designers to make their mark. But don’t copies also make the originals more widely known and increase the value of the brand name versions? And doesn’t the lack of copyright protection on fashion designs mean to a certain extent that designers need to be more innovative more often to stimulate sales?

It’s proving difficult enough to enforce current laws that protect logos or ornamentation, so what are the real chances of protecting the designs themselves?

Senate Looks To Slow Innovation In Fashion Industry With New Copyright Laws


BLOG

just-style market research sale

Are you planning for the year ahead and beyond? Well this week we’re offering great deals on some of our market research......

BLOG

Gearing up for the holiday shopping season

The volume of US apparel imports saw an increase in October on the prior year as retailers geared up for the holiday shopping season. Bangladesh booked the second highest growth behind India, reversin...

BLOG

Innovations to boost sustainability

Hong Kong-based textile and apparel giant Esquel Group, the world's largest woven shirt maker, is pushing ahead with the pursuit of sustainable and holistic quality. ...

BLOG

Sign up to try new re:source apparel sourcing tool for free

The old saying "Good things come to those who wait" is certainly true for re:source, the new suite of data-driven sourcing tools being developed by the team here at just-style....

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?