Who would want to spend a thousand bucks for a cloth design when in fact you have the option of paying for the similar design worth half the price of the original – or even less? How is this so? Prior to the information age, imitators only send their sketch artists to attend fashion shows of reputable and famous fashion designers, and through those drawings, they were able to copy the exact design, replicate them in bulk, and sell them at an incredibly low price. And today, with the advent of technology, professional copiers can now get the designs in just a click of their digital cameras, upload the three-dimensional copy to their computer and in an instant they can mass reproduce the exact designs to as many stores as they can, even before the original designers reach their market. Easy money, huh!
Design piracy – it’s a form of stealing, and it has adverse effects on the fashion industry. Just imagine how thousands and millions of dollars do these designers spend on creating, advertising, and making available to the consumers their originally-made designs and craftsmanship? They spent large sums of money for what? For the benefit of the pirates who do nothing than plagiarizing works and ideas of others?
So what happens? Well, it does harm the fashion industry, of course, especially those young designers who are aspiring and trying really hard to get a name in the fashion business. With the designer piracy in existence, these young designers’ career might die even before they can penetrate the business. This is so because when one aspires to start a fashion designer career, he/she must invest a considerable amount of money for fashion shows, advertising, and production. Thousands or even millions of dollars would be shelled out even before the first client would place an order. At first, designers produce a small quantity and sell them at a very high price. This is what fashion designers call “haute couture.” However, unless the brand already has established its name in the consumers’ mind, most of the designers don’t gain profit at selling haute couture because they can only sell a small quantity, hence lesser profit. So, to regain their investment, what most of them do is to add ready-to-wear clothes to their product lines, so they can produce large volumes, and sell them at lower prices. Unfortunately, the move would be far more difficult for them because with the designer pirates on the field, competition may quickly kick them off the business.
But designer pirates – they are not the only one to blame. Partly, the finger can be pointed at two more heads – the law makers and also at the consumers. To some extent, it’s the consumers’ responsibility to buy only the authentic works, with due respect to the fashion industry and to the people who depend their livelihood in the industry. The designer pirates are there because the consumers are patronizing these products. It’s just the supply and demand relationship.
But can you really blame the consumers? If you would look closer, you’d realize that they are just being practical. Thus, to stop them from buying imitations, there should have some form of restrictions. Yes. Partly, it is the law makers fault, because thieves would be hindered to steal if there are governing laws in the place. With the absence of law, stealing would not be considered illegal – and obviously and clearly, that is unjust to the artists.