Several years ago when it seemed that every celebrity under the sun was starting a clothing line, we gave the dramatic of-course-she-did eyeroll. As designers and educators, we know what it takes to draft a pattern and how many muslin samples we must sew to get an immaculate fit. The thought of some untrained celebrity waltzing into a boardroom and lending her name to a collection developed by hard-working no-name designers in an effort to make millions off consumers made us cringe. Read More
Category "Fashion Business"
From the bags you will find on Canal Street in NYC to your local Target store, rip offs of original design run rampant. Designers that sell on Etsy have discovered their designs selling at a lower cost on Urban Outfitter shelves, and with access to social media, it is easier than ever for a manufacturer with the means to copy and produce an independent artist’s work. As recent as this past election season, Target copied Sandilake Clothing’s #MERICA t-shirt design and was caught red, white and blue handed by this Etsy artist. So, how can emerging designers protect themselves? Our new video series outlines copyright, trademark and social media basics in three short new videos.
Copying another designer’s work is certainly not a new concept. In fact, this practice dates back to the Middle Ages when styles created for the royals and other nobles were often “reinterpreted” by artisans in less expensive materials. The feudal society of the Middle Ages brought an increase in number of workers who looked to the lords and kings for fashion inspiration and aspiration. Today, we simply need to open our laptops to see what Princess Kate wore to last week’s events and can likely find very similar renditions quickly (and for less money) online.
In the early 1900s and long before access to the internet, Parisian designers attempted to stop the replication of their designs in the U.S. Madeleine Vionnet, the Callot sisters, Paul Poiret, Madeline Cheruit, Charles Frederick Worth, Jeanne Lanvin and Drécoll formed an anticopyist society in 1923 called Association pour la Défense des Arts Plastique et Appliqués. Their mission was to lobby for international copyright laws. Other groups and movements followed and by 1934, admission cards to couture fashion shows in Paris were being issued for $200 in addition to the promise that stores and manufacturers in attendance would not copy the designs they saw on the runways.
Securing protection for one’s designs has not been an easy task for designers. Even after the much-publicized case in the 1970s between Yves Saint Laurent and Ralph Lauren involving Saint Laurent’s “Le Smoking” dress (whereby Ralph Lauren lost), the process known as “knocking-off” still exists. Due to the prohibitive cost involved in legally pursuing a copyist, the problem of stealing or illegally taking an idea or product design and passing it off or selling it as your own continues, despite laws that have been passed to dissuade such activity.
Unfortunately, the black market means big business. According to Havoscope, a global black market trademarking source, counterfeiting totaled $654 billion globally in 2015. Of that total, the breakdown of counterfeit fashion related merchandise was reported as $12 billion worth of shoes, $12 billion clothing, $6.5 billion sporting goods, $3 billion cosmetics and $70 million in counterfeit purses. It also accounted for the loss of more than 2.5 million jobs. That’s quite an impact.
So what can you as an emerging designer do to protect yourself and your work? You do not need to go as far as Ferragamo who has begun inserting microchips in their shoes and handbags to combat counterfeiting. But you do need to educate yourself. Start by taking a look at our three newest videos above and become familiar with what you can and cannot copyright, if obtaining a trademark is appropriate for your business and finally, how to protect your brand when posting on social media.
It’s a controversial time in fashion, folks. We are not just talking the dreadlock debaucle at Marc Jacobs or the spectacle that made attendees hot under the collar (literally) this season. We are living in a time that fashion historians will one day refer to as a major shift in the way designers design, buyers buy and consumers consume. The traditional fashion cycle is being rocked to its core. Read More
The dust has settled from the initial shock of Brexit – Britain’s exit from the European Union. Yet what so many Brits were concerned about for months prior to the vote, we in the US just seem to be processing. How does the UK’s decision affect us? And more specifically, how does Britain’s departure from the EU affect the fashion industry both here and abroad? We break down what Brexit means for us in the US. Read More
In Sunday’s New York Times Fashion & Style section, we were introduced to Manufacture NY – “a fashion incubator, factory and research facility housed in a landmark building that was once Storehouse No. 2 of the United States Navy Fleet Supply Base” in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The project is the brainchild of Bob Bland, a 33-year-old designer/entrepreneur/visionary who has been determined to develop a “21st-century garment district” after struggling to produce her own line locally. Read More
With the Met Ball just around the corner celebrating the Costume Institute’s Spring 2016 Exhibition, Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, we anxiously anticipate what fashion’s biggest players will be wearing. But this year, consider how you will view who is wearing who. Will it be via Instagram? Twitter? Snapchat? Recently, how consumers consume their information has been on the tip of the fashion industry’s tongue and certainly the top of its mind. Fashion publications have gone out of print, and even online reporting has had to revamp. Read More
Have you ever been sew, sew, sewing away and notice your fingers are bright purple from your fabric? Have your new jeans turned your light couch a lovely shade of indigo? Maybe you used the last of a bolt of fabric and are struggling to find more of the same fabric in the exact hue so that you can finish your garment. For the technical terms and causes for these common colorful challenges, read on… Read More
We have recently had requests by our schools who teach Fashion Buying and Merchandising in addition to our corporate account, GIII Apparel Group, to post lessons which include basic information that every fashion student, designer and individual interested in working in the fashion business needs to understand. We know that design is a creative endeavor, however, emerging designers increase the viability of their businesses by understanding the following concepts presented in Basic Retail Math, Profit and Loss and Creating a Retail Merchandise Plan. Read More
Math may not be what initially enticed you to become a fashion designer. As a matter of fact, you may have been actively avoiding all things math related when you decided to make fashion design your career. However, as you begin to turn your love of fashion design into a viable business, retail math concepts become increasingly important. At the University of Fashion, one of our goals is to make you as well prepared as possible to enter the fashion industry as both a knowledgable designer and as a business owner. Read More
For the University of Fashion, 2014 has been the year of new video series. For University of Fashion students, this means in depth learning in each of our disciplines. This year, we have taken our students beyond basic skills and offered lessons to stretch, inspire and encourage you to take the next step in your fashion design career. Below, find a few of 2014 series highlights, including a just-added draping video. Read More