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Congress to Hear New Anti-Knockoff Bill

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F21 Knockoffs
Photo Credit

Over the last few months, we’ve written about NYC’s attempt to crackdown on the purchase of counterfeit goods and the copying accusations brought against Urban Outfitters — both hot-button discussion topics regarding fashion knockoffs and copyright laws. Now, these same issues are about to be discussed by the US Congress.

WWD is reporting that Congress is expected to schedule a hearing on July 15th for a bill that would protect fashion designers and apparel brands from knockoffs. Called the “Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act,” the bill would expand copyright laws to — for the first time ever — include fashion designs that are often the target of knockoffs.

The bill would protect “unique and original” designs for a period of three years, and deliberate copies of these designs would be rendered illegal. However, all designs created before the enactment of the bill wouldn’t be counted. Also, if a designer wanted to sue a knockoff artist, they would have to prove their design is protectable and was deliberately copied.

According to Fashionably Just, the current law states designers can sue only if their actual logo is used to sell the fake merchandise, which is oftentimes how retailers like Forever 21 dodge legal implications. If the bill passes, however, Forever 21 and other fast-fashion retailers would not legally be able to mimic designs from higher-priced lines.

Thoughts?

What do you think about this bill? Should Congress pass it? Do you think the bill could change the way fast-fashion retailers work? Remember to let us know what you think by leaving a comment below!

Posted on on July 11, 2011 / Filed Under: Fashion News / Tags: , , , ,

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58 Responses to “Congress to Hear New Anti-Knockoff Bill”

  1. 1
    July 11th, 2011 at 9:40 am

    As much as I love my Forever 21 knockoffs, I have to say that I hope this bill passes. Whenever I buy a knockoff item, I always feel a twinge of guilt because I know my money isn’t going to support the workmanship and creativity of the original designer. Of course, being a student on a budget, “the real thing” is usually out of reach for me. But I know it’s not right to buy knockoffs, so maybe this bill would help me stop supporting this practice. Really, if knockoffs weren’t so easy to buy, I know I wouldn’t specifically seek them out, y’know?

    I love designer clothes and hope to someday save up enough money to buy the real clothes I want, to support the designers I love. In the meantime, I truly hope this bill helps make knockoffs more difficult to come by. It would definitely make a difference for me.

  2. 2
    July 11th, 2011 at 9:42 am

    I hope it doesn’t pass. Some of us want to wear trends but can’t afford to pay $1,000 for a purse. As if the designers aren’t making a killing anyway, with celebrities and various other rich people paying for their stuff….if the knock off companies aren’t using their real design then I don’t see why it hurts.

  3. 3
    July 11th, 2011 at 10:01 am

    I hope the bill is passed. As awesome as Forever 21, H&M, etc are, they are huge companies probably making more money that the designers they are “ripping off”. The average women not being able to afford the designer item is the whole point of luxury items. If everyone could afford it, it wouldn’t carry the sense of desire synonymous with designer creations. I think the bill should be passed to protect original designs and the right to the ideas of the creator.

  4. 4
    July 11th, 2011 at 10:06 am

    i hope this bill doesnt pass. and i am with Christy i cant affort most of the designer clothes that are out there. if this bill does pass, designers wont win more money that they are doing know. Normal people CANT buy their clothes, and we will go back to some other, less expencive trend some randm local designer comes up with!

  5. 5
    July 11th, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I had no idea that F21 was copying others. Why you ask? Because the companies were small and didnt make a stink about it. In the one article linked it said they do not copy big names because they already have the support out there.

    I dont think the top image would count. Different colored buttons is something already out there. The same with the state necklaces and urban outfitters. You cant call those “unique and original” designs since others have also made them. Its just two highly talked about and known for copying companies did it.

    If Congress does pass this law, they are going to have to make a Dept of Fashion somewhere to enforce it. F21 and Urban arent the only ones. Have you ever seen a knock off Vera Bradley? I have, and its the same as designer knockoffs, one color changed and its different.

  6. 6
    July 11th, 2011 at 10:33 am

    I hope it passes! But I think stores are still going to find SOME way to get around the law, because it could cause controversy on what items are copying the “unique and original” and which ones are not. But I’m interested to see what clothes they start coming up with.

  7. 7
    July 11th, 2011 at 10:34 am

    in all honesty, i can think of almost 50 things off the top of my head that are more important for congress to be thinking about than this.

  8. 8
    July 11th, 2011 at 10:43 am

    I hope this law gets passed. Designers pour blood, sweat, and tears into the creation of their collections. Okay, maybe not blood, but it’s a lot of time and money spent. It takes 6 months up to a year to go from concept to the actual physical creation of the clothing. Forever 21 and other stores swoop in at the end of an arduous process and copy the finished result. Little work, no creaitivity. It must be so defeating for a designer to see his or her design knocked-off so easily.

    For those of you who bring up the valid point of these brand names being so expensive, try shopping at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx. Century 21 is also a fantastic store to buy brand names at a reduced price. At least you’re buying the real thing. The real thing will last you longer than a cheap knock-off anyway. Just my thoughts.

  9. 9
    July 11th, 2011 at 10:53 am

    I can see where a law like this might be necessary but where exactly do we draw the line? What counts as copyright infringement of “unique and original” work when trends largely come from the high end and gets translated to the low end? I feel like there is a huge grey area when technically, most of the low-end retailer clothing just follow trends that someone else came up with.

  10. 10
    July 11th, 2011 at 11:15 am

    I think the bill should be passed but not all of us ordinary people can buy expensive designer items and I think retail stores should make their own designs instead of copying designers. There should be a copyright claim.

  11. 11
    July 11th, 2011 at 11:16 am

    While I agree that designers should be recognized for their creations, “unique and original” work really does not exist. The thing about fashion is it comes and goes and is always left up to interpretation. For example, the 70’s are back in style, none of the ideas designers are using are “original” they are simple reinterpreting them and modernizing them. Also, let’s be honest Forever 21 and high end designers are not catering to the same market so I don’t see the harm here. If this is passed the people who shop at Forever 21 and H&M aren’t suddenly going to be shelling out major money for designer clothing.
    @natalie LOL i totally agree their are SO many other things they can and should be worrying about not whether high school and college kids are buying knock-offs at Forever 21

  12. 12
    July 11th, 2011 at 11:17 am

    The protection of designers’ copyrights is a great ideal and I support it. However, it is highly impractical, because the non-elite will not be able to buy trendy clothing anymore. Also, how far does one push their concept of “copyright” and “plagiarism”? Designers also borrow patterns and shapes from previous fashions. The “smoking” and the gown and the mini and countless other basic designs have been done and redone multiple times, often with little true variation. A designer can modify an original, classical design and put their name on it. Nautical, military, androgyny, flapper, wide-leg, clog shoes, neon, goth, punk, chinoiserie, etc. etc. It’s all technically been done before!

  13. 13
    July 11th, 2011 at 11:18 am

    This bill has nothing to do with design piracy. It is about competition and how to eliminate it. The vague language ought to be enough to end fashion design as we know it. There is a limited vocabulary of design, as it is. Why? All fashion designers start with the same form, the human form.

    This bill is blatant monopoly rent-seeking by a few powerful fashion names. It would benefit established major players and give them an iron billy club to smash down any potential upstart competitors. It would benefit lawyers. It certainly wouldn’t benefit the people.

    How do you assign copyrights to any Joe Blow for designs which have been in the public domain for many decades? You simply cannot.

    Fashion design and innovation has absolutely flourished in the US. No one can argue this point. It has done so BECAUSE of the lack of copyright litigation.

  14. 14
    July 11th, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Great reading is The Piracy Paradox, the article specifically covers the fashion industry and why “knock-offs” to a population that can’t afford luxury products are actually beneficial to high-priced designers.

    http://www.newyorker.com/talk/financial/2007/09/24/070924ta_talk_surowiecki

  15. 15
    July 11th, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Google “The Piracy Paradox” for a great article on why knock-offs to a lower income bracket are actually beneficial to high-priced designers.

  16. 16
    July 11th, 2011 at 11:31 am

    i’ve got to agree with natalie on this one; doesn’t congress have better things to do with their time, you know, like, FIXING OUR ECONOMY? and honestly, if this law was put into practice, poor college kids like us could no longer afford trendy clothing, and smaller stores would likely go out of business, hurting our already wounded economy. like many others on here have pointed out, where would they draw the line? would they force smaller stores to no longer sell jeggings, rompers, or anything remotely trendy? it does sound a bit like a monopoly plan to me and i’m not real keen on it.

  17. 17
    July 11th, 2011 at 11:38 am

    “in all honesty, i can think of almost 50 things off the top of my head that are more important for congress to be thinking about than this”

    i’m with natalie’s comment on this one. of all the bs going on in the world and this country right now, congress is really worried about counterfeit fashion merch? what, is this another way to distract the masses from real world issues?

  18. 18
    July 11th, 2011 at 11:49 am

    As someone who shops at Forever 21 and the like, I don’t feel bad about buying trendy clothes at affordable prices (considering how quickly we get tired of our clothes). Are those retailers really hurting big designers? Can Forever 21 or H&M really compete with LVMH? Additionally, I believe that many “luxury” brands have cheapened their own images by attempting to appeal to the masses with more affordable items, like keychains or hats covered in every inch with a logo, and affordable materials (plastic from a factory in Asia instead of Italian leather). A dress from Forever 21 is obviously not the same as one from Dior in both quality and design, anyway. Many luxury houses have lost a lot of their luster and exclusivity on their own and should work on elevating their brands back to something special. Also, isn’t imitation the sincerest form of flattery?

  19. 19
    July 11th, 2011 at 11:50 am

    I see a lot of comments about the “gray area” and the “line” concerning what constitutes unique and original designs. I had that same question until I reread the article and caught the word “innovative” in the title of the bill. I think this helps clear something up for me because designers would (presumably) have to prove in court that their specific garment is not only unique and original but innovative in some way. That indicates they have to prove that their design is something that hasn’t been done before. What constitutes true innovative design? I suppose that’s up to the judge but for me that is where the gray area actually lies. So while Polina brings up a very good (and well-written) point that got me thinking, I don’t think it will be that easy for designers to get trigger-happy with lawsuits. They have to come with undeniable proof as with every other lawsuit of this type.

  20. 20
    July 11th, 2011 at 11:54 am

    if you can’t afford it….don’t buy it then. simple as that.

    there’s a reason why designers are so expensive. all the thought, effort and craftsmanship that went into the pieces are worth the price. if you’re buying from forever21 not only are you supporting child labor but theft.

  21. 21
    July 11th, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Natalie – I completely agree.

  22. 22
    July 11th, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    KJohn has a really excellent point that I think everyone should consider. This law does NOT mean that poor college students across America suddenly won’t be able to afford any clothing. It just means that if a designer comes up with a unique and innovative design that is purposefully ripped off by another company, they can stake a claim. I think this is completely necessary to preserve the intellectual property rights of fashion designers.
    Also, it’s laws like this that actually will help our economy, because it protects not only big fashion houses, but also small businesses who are trying to get started up. Those are the cases that concern me more than knockoff Chanels being sold on Canal Street.

  23. 23
    July 11th, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    I hope the bill passes because I hate when I see girls buying the knock off Coach bags from street vendors and such. But really, I don’t think this should affect stores like Forever21 and H&M because they aren’t trying to pass the clothing off as the actual high end brand.

  24. 24
    July 11th, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    @natalie: I agree with that whole-heartedly! Congress should be focusing attention on issues that are a bit more pressing at the moment. That’s not to say that this is an issue that should be ignored, but perhaps more strategic timing would be appropriate given the circumstances.

    @Ani: Good point! Once a unique, original design is put out into the market, it can act as inspiration to other designers and therefore runs the risk of being reinterpreted. That is something that designers know before they put their clothes out there. While knock-offs and copies that obviously attempt to look like the real-deal should definitely come under question, some designs that are similar to others might just be a reinterpretation that was not intended to be a look-alike but a tribute to a great design instead. So at what point does “knock-off” begin to blend into “inspired tribute”? Bravo to you for seeing the shades of gray that lie between the absolutes.

  25. 25
    July 11th, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    This law is ridiculous. It cant be properly enforced, first of all. Secondly, F21 and stores like them are great, so what if they re-create designer items and put them out at an affordable price. The designers aren’t hurting too bad from it from my point of view. And even in this economy richer people are buying designer and college people like me are buying F21. It’s good for the economy, which is something that congress should be much more worried about anyway.

  26. 26
    July 11th, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    @Jen: “there’s a reason why designers are so expensive. all the thought, effort and craftsmanship that went into the pieces are worth the price. if you’re buying from forever21 not only are you supporting child labor but theft.”

    And you don’t think designers/luxury brands manufacture their products in countries that uses child labor too? Come on!

  27. 27
    July 11th, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    @ Natalie:

    THANK YOU. Yes, yes and more yes. This is so far down on the list of things to worry about that it almost sickens me. Not only that, a move like this would slash so many garment industry jobs. If anything this is just another incidence of congress caring more about protecting the luxuries that the rich enjoy by hurting middle class people who produce and wear “knock off” garments (yeah, a striped polo shirt is SOO obviously an original design).

  28. 28
    July 11th, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    You say that congress should be focusing on more important things? Fashion counterfeiting falls directly in line with child labor, human trafficking, drug trafficking. Are those not priorities what we should be concerned with? If you feel that it’s ‘not fair’ that those of us in a lower income bracket can’t afford such luxuries, that’s exactly the point. Luxury is a privilege. Something to strive for, if it should be your interest. Don’t like that you can’t afford it? Change your income bracket then. If every whim were instantly gratified, what would be the point in getting out of bed every morning?

  29. 29
    July 11th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    I hope this passes.

    As a writer, I would be really pissed if someone plagiarized my novel. It’s exactly the same with designers and and knock-offs. The designers deserve the credit and $$$ from the designs that they created–simple as that.

    Also, I’m pretty sure that a designer couldn’t say something like “I made a blue & white striped cardigan and F21 has a blue and white striped cardigan”. I really really doubt that any court would be like “y’know F21 totally copied that, no more blue & white striped cardigans!” Like really guys? Common sense.

  30. 30
    July 11th, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Here are some thoughts that ran through my mind:

    Don’t you think designers deserve this type of protection? Think about aspiring designers who are trying to create an image for themselves and their name. With all these knockoffs how can they establish their brand? It will be hard for them to gain the respect for their ideas. Also, I agree with the previous post. This may seem like a trivial issue, but it is just the course of life…If not dealt with now, the issue will eventually have to be solved later. Why do you want something like this to always be pushed back and back behind the more “important” things like world hunger? many people care about this that’s why it’s in the news and has reached the upper tiers of the gov’t.

  31. 31
    July 11th, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Perhaps it just means you cant make exact replicas of an item, like the items in the above picture, but you can give it a different cut, or change it in some way so it’s obviously not the exact same article of clothing in a slightly different color. I’ve walked into Forever 21 and seen a pair of shorts and tube top literally identical to ones that I own from Hollister co. , same exact fabric, buttons, and stitching. It’s like they bought them out of the factory line before the Hollister logos were put on them (which is likely, exactly what happened) But had the shorts had a different fabric, I doubt I ever would have noticed they were the same design. Shorts are shorts are shorts. a polo is a polo, and a cardigan is a cardigan. When you copy the exact fabric, color pattern, cut and fine details, that’s when there’s a problem.

    Honestly, I get the whole, “fashion is art” and “designers are artists” thing, and I agree, it is, and they are, I love fashion and I agree wholeheartedly that it is art. And yes, famous artists charge an arm and a leg for their paintings, sculptures, photographs, etc. but guess what, no one’s walking around wearing a Mona Lisa as a dress, or a David as a shoe. Those kinds of art take years to produce and can not be so easily reproduced. Fashion takes time to develop, yes, but not years. And unless it’s something couture, it can be pretty easily reproduced.

    Musicians and filmmakers/ actors are artists too, but their work costs the public what, 2 dollars a song, and 20 bucks a movie? Their work is innovative, creative, and unique, films cost millions to make, and are not so easily reproduced and yet they cost the public so little. They’re all still rich, and their work is glorified. But those are things that we use every day, like clothing, people wear clothing everyday, so I’d say fashion designers fit the Musician/ Film “artist” genre better than the painter/ sculptor genre, and therefore the ridiculous prices are unwarranted.

    But hey, that’s just my opinion.

  32. 32
    July 11th, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    @ Cortney–as we all learned from the Casey Anthony trial, common sense means nothing in a court of law. Sad, I know.

  33. 33
    July 11th, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    No one said hunger and child labor are not a priority. Obviously, these are huge issues in international affairs. This is different than passing a bill about counterfeiting. Retail manufacturers from Nike and Gap to Coach and Louis Vuitton exploit child workers. This is about Congress passing an anti-knockoff bill, not anti-child labor and global hunger/poverty bill.

  34. 34
    July 11th, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    by the way, regardless of our opinions, I love to see how politically aware you girls are…very refreshing!

  35. 35
    July 11th, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Okay yes designers deserve to be protected, yes they are creative, yes they work hard but you walk into majority of stores now and everything looks the same. It’s all the same style. Like really, I didn’t even know places like Forever 21 made their own versions probably because I couldn’t bother to give high end stores the time of day; but you go into almost any fashion store and the same designs are everywhere. In my opinion, designers are probably just getting frustrated that “kockoffs” or :”look a likes” are selling much better than the orginals. But for the average person, 300 for a shirt is out of the question. This isn’t going to make sales go up, the same amount of people with commodify themselves with designer products, and the rest of us will keep shopping as we do. Here in my city (in Canada), we don’t cross our fingers and wait for a Chanel or LV store to open, we celebrated when we found out Forever 21 and H&M were opening! That in itself should say something.

    @Cherie I completley agree, this is not going to stop anything groundbreaking, it may get some people mad and frustrated but the designers will always have their audience and average places will always have theirs.

    @Casey, you just read my mind!

  36. 36
    July 11th, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    The answer to ending child labor in third world countries is not to ban copied designs. Companies that use child labor don’t do so because they’re selling copies, they do it because it’s cheap and they can. The answer to this is pass pass laws against child labor, which is used by low and high and brands alike, not to ban knock-offs, which are only a small part of the problem. I think this law has little to do with protecting an artists creativity and much more to do with enabling large companies to copyright and monopolize certain designs.

  37. 37
    July 11th, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    I think the law is ridiculous because it’s so vague. Obvious counterfeiters – like those that sell designer bags to make people think they ARE those designer bags – are of course in the wrong. But F21 taking a trend they saw and making it cheaper? Not the same thing in the slightest. These retail stores aren’t selling shoes “exactly like Jimmy Choo!” or even aiming to be compared to the brand name at all. Trends should not, and cannot logically be called intellectual property, because it’s just that – a trend, a movement. Why would a designer design an innovative dress if they didn’t want to create something bigger? You don’t make some new and exciting, especially in clothing and other things that are so cultural and not practical (like inventions), without having a desire to see it grow.

    Just my .02.

  38. 38
    July 11th, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    To an extent – I understand this.
    But mostly, I think it’s ridiculous.
    99% of Target’s ‘fashion’ section is inspired by designer looks.
    Same with forever, urban, love culture, hot topic, and just about every other teen-geared retailer out there.
    It’d be impossible to keep track of – and would hurt the economy even MORE if you ask me.
    Besides, there are ideas that could be had, and unknowingly be something similar to someone elses design.
    There are too many grey areas – like what defines it being a direct copy and what defines it being ‘inspired by’?

    I think it’s a waste of time.

    Now, couterfeits like straight up fake coach bags, fake McQueen scarves, etc. those should be gone! That’s the one doing more harm to the designer.
    Besides, the crap from target or the other retailers mentioned, it’s OBVIOUS it’s not nice / real leather / the real thing…. so it takes nothing away from the person who CAN afford it – like celebrities.

  39. 39
    July 11th, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    I’m Australian and I feel the reason why the US has had such a strong history of innovation is because of the numerous patenting laws which have enabled people like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg to create and then profits from their technologies (unlike in China where patents are terribly enforced and there are fewer profits to be made from the ‘concept’).

    People should take a step back and realise that passing this bill does not automatically void stores that sell knockoffs. There’ll just be more litigation in courts to determine if a designer (specifically an up and coming one) is able to better protect their design from copyright infringement.

    This does not appear to me, to be anti-competitive, or a monopolizing conspiracy hatched by evil John Gallianos or Versace. This seems to continue the very American tradition of ensuring that designs, innovations – IDEAS- are valued just as much as the product itself.

  40. 40
    July 11th, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    I completely agree with Monica. And I don’t really have anything to add to it, either. =)

  41. 41
    July 11th, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    I don’t agree with the bill. Clothes pretty much look the same to me unless they’re couture. There are more than 100+ labels that cater to various prices and for the most part, more or less, with some slight variations most stores tend to sell the same things.

    Some styles are classic, some are trendy, but more or less clothes look alike. A jacket is a jacket, jeans are jeans, a wrap dress is a wrap dress, yeah there are some slight variations between designs but at the end of the day there’s not that much of a difference between them.

    Also history has shown us that two people can have the same idea at the opposite end of the world, or at different time eras, so I don’t think a copyright is fair. If designers want people to shop more then they need to make design lines that are affordable.

    Most people are working and middle class and can’t afford $500 dollar dresses. I don’t think anything is really original. I think everything has been done and everything tends to be recycled. We don’t really dress that much different in the 2000s than we did in the 90s.

    Aside from the trendy stuff, the clothes have pretty much stayed the same. It doesn’t matter if you go to Forever 21 or Chanel because in the end you’re still fueling the economy. Isn’t that what really matters?

    I’ll be surprised if this bill passes. I like fashion, but too many times the industry thinks too highly of itself and takes itself too seriously. Fashion designers shouldn’t be glorified as if they’re gods. You gotta have fun with fashion and not take it too seriously.

    The only time when I take fashion seriously is when children do the work of adults in factories. Then it stops being fashion, and starts going into human rights territory.

  42. 42
    July 11th, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    I’m a little in two minds about this, as I really dislike counterfeits and do appreciate the work a designer does. However, when you look at the reality and examine the facts closely, it does not work in any way.

    (Note that I use the word imitations meaning the inspired designs. The word knock-off implies counterfeit to me; the two are different things.)

    Unlike the arguments against music piracy, the original designers very rarely lose out. The difference here is that, those who can afford the real thing don’t buy imitations and those who buy the imitations can rarely afford the real thing. When you consider this, how does the designer lose out?

    So despite getting something similar for a much lower price, if you can afford it, you buy the real thing. The reason being, that when you’re talking about luxury fashion, the quality is often higher and the difference is in the details. That’s what you’re paying for.

    A skirt is still a skirt, whether it costs 50 or 500. The stitching, lining, fabrics used etc. are what make the difference between high-end items, and the cheaper ones. Besides, those who can’t afford the real thing would snap it up in a heartbeat if they had the money, precisely for this difference. Also, this isn’t a new phenomenon. Even during the 20th century, women would buy patterns inspired by the latest trends from magazines like Burda and make them at home.

    Besides, where do you draw the line? A luxury house comes out with a quilted design on a structured bag, does that mean that anybody else that comes out with a similar design is immediately copying? Someone decides that flared trousers are in, so does that mean nobody else is allowed to produce flared trousers? It’s very difficult to regulate beyond the obvious, such as outright copies and logos.

    Logos should absolutely be trademarked as it is shameless to produce or buy something and pretend it’s the real thing. Unlike counterfeits, imitation designs don’t masquerade as the real thing.

    Any designers would do well to remember that “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”.

    Before moving onto the final point, another thing to remember is, if no one is wearing the most fashionable designs, are they really trends? Remember what the founder of one of the leading luxury houses of fashion said, Coco Chanel “a fashion that does not reach the streets is no fashion”

    Finally, fashion has one major limitation that will always restrict what can be created; the human form. I think the reasons I’ve outlined are precisely why it has always been very difficult to trademark fashion and why this should not go ahead. Wow, this is a whole essay here; I didn’t realize I would write so much!

  43. 43
    July 11th, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Yes! Hopefully this bill passes. It will protect the hard work that designers produce and will finally get those lazy good-for-nothing companies like Forever 21 to finally get their **** together and come up with something unique to their brand besides cheapness.
    And this will help the economy greatly as there will be less counterfeits and knock-offs to consume our hard-earned money.

  44. 44
    July 11th, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    On the one hand, there are very few people (especially now) who can actually afford designers. In America, where image is so highly valued, that can be a very bad thing. Having stores that offer the styles at an affordable price is great since wearing or not wearing the right thing could, honestly, make or break a job interview, let’s say.

    However, as an artist myself, I completely understand how awful it is to steal another man’s/woman’s work. I mean, no one would put up with a plagiarized novel or replicating “The Starry Night” and calling it a masterpiece. So why should this be allowed? After all, that dress is someone’s work of art; the result of endless study, struggle, and eventually inspiration.

    At some point this all gets to be too much. I mean, how many ways can you make a blue and white striped, collared shirt? Some designs are obviously unique and others are pretty universal and common. The trick is, knowing where to draw the line.

  45. 45
    July 12th, 2011 at 12:29 am

    I agree Le.

    Producing counterfeit items is obviously wrong. But F21 creating inspired by and similar versions of trends..doing of different. Not only that, but it’s possible that many of their pieces aren’t even intentionally copying anyone else.

    I don’t know much about this topic, I’ll admit, but I doubt one can’t easily lay claim to a trend.

  46. 46
    July 12th, 2011 at 3:33 am

    I agree with Christy. I do not want this law to pass, I cannot afford designer clothing. Forever 21 is like my version of designer clothing, I can affoard them! But I cannot affoard name brands…

    I hope it doesn’t pass. Some items of course are very similar in some knockoffs but some aren’t. The gucci, coach and Louis Vuitton purses knockoffs should definetly be banned, but some clothing shouldn’t.

  47. 47
    July 12th, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    When Congress takes relevant action on things like the national debt, high taxes, abuse of welfare, and the perpetual conflict of abortion, then and only then will I think it remotely right for them to turn their attentions and our money to the nuances of copyright laws, regarding clothing, of all things! Technology or academic intellectual property I could see, but artistic endeavours are notoriously hard to define as original, copied, deliberate, or any other distinct, discreet characteristic.

    That said, taking this law out of its larger context and as one particular bill, I still disapprove. A retailer or manufacturer should be able to sell what he makes, and make what he can sell. If a knockoff sells, a knockoff sells. It makes money, it makes profits, it makes jobs. If a designer discovers one and would really like to challenge it, there is always the option of him personally taking it to court if he thinks he can build a strong enough case under existing law. And if people-at-large are too naive to know the difference between a cheap cotton or satin or plastic knockoff and the real, quality, linen, silk, or leather item, that is no business of our politicians.

  48. 48
    July 12th, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    Every year my school has two dances that people wear nice dresses to (Christmas, Valentine’s) and a Halloween dance. On top of that this year I have eighth grade graduation. The town I live in is not too large, so the only places for nice dresses are Hollister, Herbergur’s and JCPenny. We don’t get very large sales so most of the dresses cost $30-$50. That’s $90-$150, which most families can’t afford, and is still too expensive even if you try to make your own money. So I will buy all of these for a total of 60 or 70 dollars at Forever 21. It would not be possible to buy any other back to school clothes for me without Forever 21, I don’t believe that designers should get angry at a company for making a more affordable option of a dress or ring. They are probably not “stealing” customers, because most of the people who shop at such stores are teenagers and college students, not housewives who buy the latest designer items. If the only place you can buy trendy items is from expensive designers, then people will have to rely on illegal street venders, who do not put money back in the economy.

  49. 49
    July 12th, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    Those designers deserve to have this bill passed, but I hope they do feel generous enough to pair up with stores like Target to provide cheaper alternatives. Don’t get me wrong. I love Forever 21, but everyone deserves protection- rich or poor.

  50. 50
    July 13th, 2011 at 12:29 am

    As much as I understand that it would be awful to have your work stolen, I hope the bill doesn’t pass. Because I, and I’m sure most other girls as well, can’t afford designer clothing. Not even close! I like being able to wear clothing that is on trend, yet still affordable.

  51. 51
    July 13th, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    @Alexandra

    First of all, this law does nothing to eliminate child labor. Companies who knock off designer goods will just come up with ways to avoid the law and still use the same type of labor regardless of where they got their designs. Companies will to continue the practice of child labor as a means for them to have the largest profit margin possible. Even those who make their own designs use child labor. Nike, for example. The cause is not unimportant, but his law simply doesn’t address it.

    Also, I would be careful to advise that people just change their income bracket, as such a thing is much easier said than done, especially for those from the lowest income brackets. I makes you sound naive, and I don’t think you are.

    Specific to the law, it is pointless because the language is vague. What constitutes a knock off versus an inspiration? In some cases this is obvious, in most it is completely subjective. Companies that live to knock off other designers will just find a way around the law, leaving it absolutely useless. I’m sure congress has better things to bicker about.

  52. 52
    July 13th, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    NO! If companies like F21 aren’t allowed to reproduced pieces “like” what’s in high-design, how will the style reach the masses of middle class women who love fashion. There’s zero way I would be able to buy anything original. And I bet that if this bill passes, designer’s prices will only skyrocket.

    BOO on this bill!

  53. 53
    July 14th, 2011 at 1:49 am

    Oh dear god, NO!!!! If this passes and is actually enforced, I will have to always be three years behind fashion. NO ONE ON A STUDENT’S BUDGET CAN AFFORD TO PAY FOR A $4000 DRESS! I like to look presentable and NOT dated. If this goes through, I’m going to have to find a good Canadian knockoff company and pay all that shipping! :(

  54. 54
    July 16th, 2011 at 8:49 am

    did it get through?

  55. 55
    July 16th, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Aish (and anyone else interested!)- I did some researching and found this in-depth article by the Daily Beast about Friday’s hearing. There’s no official decision yet on whether or not the bill will move on, but the US Reps are currently discussing it and will hopefully vote on it soon.

  56. 56
    July 19th, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Let’s be honest. All art – fashion included – is inspired. By using very expensive brands as inspiration the expensive brands do not lose much money, because the buyers would most likely not be able to afford the originals. This actually seems to promote the prestige and popularity of higher end brands. HOWEVER, this is about ethics. There is a difference between inspiration/similarity and exact copies. It isn’t fair, doesn’t cultivate creativity, and creating cheap copies doesn’t flatter the sellers or buyers. Don’t steal someone’s design. I hope something comes out of this.

    And yes, I shop at Forever21. :P

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