What: US Senator Chuck Shumer recently introduced a bill to reduce the number of designer “knock-offs” by allowing fashion designs to be copyrighted.
What the fashion heads say: from WWD:
The Schumer-backed Design Piracy Prohibition Act would protect original fashion designs for three years once registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Current U.S. laws only address counterfeits if they involve anything that infringes on a registered trademark or falsely purport to be authentic. Under current laws, patents can protect creative objects or ornamentation, but it is virtually impossible to get a patent on an entire article of clothing.
What I say: Designers copying the designs of other designers is really nothing new, but the concept of style for less is. Imagine what would have happened if Chanel had a copyright on jersey knit, Diane Von Furstenberg the wrap dress, Salvatore Ferragamo the wedge heel, or Andre Courreges the mini skirt?
The copying of high designs by lower priced merchants is the natural result of the constant marketing of high end luxury goods to the masses. The marketing departments and ad agencies of these design houses created this monster by targeting teens in their ads (Dakota Fanning in Marc Jacob Ads? ) and inundating us with images that tell us that spending $1,000 for a handbag or $1,000,000 for a watch is the “norm”, even when most of America is spiraling into debt.