It seems easy, you see an item of clothing in a shop that you like but it’s too long/short/expensive/something else, and you know you could make it yourself exactly the way you want, so you do. The Monthly Stitch even had a copying RTW week. But is that fair to designers who put work into designing, creating the pattern and producing the garment?
I’ve done some reading on this primarily in regards to lingerie, Esty Lingerie have a good post on copycats and due to Hopeless Lingerie’s recent accusations of ASOS stealing their designs The Lingerie Addict have a fantastic post on this also. The overall conclusion I’ve gathered is that there’s really little that can be done to stop companies/people stealing designs, and there really only is a case if it directly impacts sales. By this logic, sewing something for yourself that you were never going to buy is perfectly acceptable as it doesn’t take away profits from the designer/producer.
All of this is on my mind recently, because I copied a piece of underwear from a small, independent, but incredibly talented lingerie designer. I love her work but I could never be able to justify her prices* (her new Miod wired bra has me wondering if I really need food/water/petrol), so I copied it, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I could argue that me making my own doesn’t take money from Karolina, I’m not selling it nor was I going to buy her’s, the original (my bank balance thanks me, but not my heart).
But still, I’m not completely comfortable with the decision. Maybe it’s because I feel like I know Karolina (Christ, I feel like a stalker werido writing that), I’ve read a lot she’s written on running an independent business and the struggles she’s faced. I also know the work that goes into bra, so I can only imagine the work it takes to make a whole collection.
So, while one could argue that I’m in the clear, but I still don’t feel right. Will that stop me in the future? Honestly I’ve no idea, maybe but most likely not.
Does anyone have any thoughts? Have you ever copied a design? I’d love to know what other’s opinions are.
*Karolina Laskowska is a luxury lingerie designer who uses beautiful and luxurious fabrics. Thus her pieces are largly out of my price range or what I can justify spending on underwear. Although I do dream of a day when they are not.