Friday, 8 January 2010

A copy or a trend?

Fashionista has decided against a New Year's resolution this year, as the usual promise to "buy fewer shoes" is already broken. Lindsay Lohan, on the other hand, has so far kept her resolution to "cause more mayhem"....

Shortly after Lohan, the creative designer of Ungaro, announced the expansion of her 6126 leggings collection into ready-to-wear, James Lillis of Black Milk Clothing accused Lohan of copying his designs. Lissis pointed out the similarities between Lohan’s “Diamond” leggings (featuring a triangle cut-out at midthigh) and his own “Sheer Spartans” and posted photographs of the two designs on his blog, saying “Caught a sneak peek at the new stuff from Lindsay Lohan’s brand 6126...No way…Sucks to be me!!!”

Then, New York designer Jen Kao added further fuel to the fire, insinuating that Lohan had copied the Kao dress she was pictured wearing last year to create her patterned “Deserve” dress.

6126 says "The alleged 'copying' claims made by these companies are false and have absolutely no merit or validity whatsoever. Any alleged similarities are purely coincidental."

Fashionista notes that this dispute brings home the importance for designers of understanding copyright and design right and how they apply to their work. Particularly important is to understand the difference between being inspired by a design and copying it. Taking inspiration from successful designers is commonplace in the fashion industry - it is sometimes difficult to say when taking inspiration moves into actual copying.

Of course, designers pay close attention to the work of their peers. And when they see something that they like, they will be influenced by it - may be by taking an element of the design and turning it turn it into something that is in the same style but not identical to the original. The result is that nebulous but all important concept in the fashion industry: the trend. Imitation makes trends, and trends sell fashion.

Fashionista waits with anticipation to see whether Lillis and Kao ultimately take Lohan's inspiration from their /designs as a complement or a threat. Watch this space!