Inspired by CHANEL

8 Oct

I was reading an article by Dzireena Mahadzir in the newspaper. And guess what I’ve found? Let’s share it. Enjoy! 😉

Fashion is something barbarous, for it produces innovation without reason and imitation without benefit. That was said by the Spanish-American philosopher/poet/novelist George Santayana (1863-1952). It makes perfect sense to me. Quite often, there is no reason for some of the designs we see on the catwalks, and you can’t wear most of them..but that’s what makes fashion so interesting: Most of the time, it doesn’t make any sense. But I like the idea of “innovation without reason”, because it encourages original thought. Why does anyone need a good or bad reason to be innovative? Original thoughts lead to innovation and ends in creation. Definitely fashion. As for the second part of the quote, “imitation without benefit”, the person who originally designed something may not benefit directly if someone rips off their designs and makes them cheaper. Then again, not many people would be able to afford the original! Of course, the person who does the ripping off certainly benefits, as they would make money from the cheaper versions. I use the word “cheaper” because that’s what design copycats are, the cheaper version. “Affordable” is used when it’s not a direct copy but an adaptation. Example, an exact Chanel 2.55 lookalike versus a quilted bag; when you can’t have the real thing, you don’t buy a cheap imitation of it, you buy a variation of it. These are two different things, and the difference is something a lot of people don’t understand.

I am quite tired of hearing that well-worn phrase, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. Really? I am sure it’s nice that someone so admires you/hates you/wants to be you and take over your look, work, whatever, that they resort to “imitating” you – but a copycat is just a copycat. (OMG SO TRUE, RIGHT!!! I HATE YOU COPYCAT, GET A LIFE!!) Recently, a friend was upset when she realised someone had ripped off her designs. She had put a lot of effort into coming up with the designs, and since they were supposed to be exclusive, she only produced a few pieces. But someone who obviously has no qualms about copying a design directly and who obviously has no shame or morals, reproduced and sold them. Of course, they are pale imitations, nowhere near as good as the originals. Yes, I know, this happens everywhere to everyone, even (especially!) the big brands. It’s “normal” right? Well, it shouldn’t be. It’s very upsetting when you put it in so much effort and time only to see someone turn your work into some third-rate copy. If your design/work is copied, there are two courses of action: ignore or sue! Most people ignore it because, thanks to the lack of enforcement and ridiculously high legal fees, not to mention the mental fatigue and emotional distress, it doesn’t seem worth it. (This applies of things, of course. I don’t know how one would sue another person for dressing /looking exactly like them!) But, as irritating, unfair and annoying as copying can be, I always think that, if your work is good, it will speak for itself. I believe that original style will always trump copies, not matter how close the clones are. When a design/product/work/person is in a class by itself, you can trot out as many pretenders to the throne as you want, they will never take the place of the original. Yes, there is billion-dollar global counterfeit goods market. Without demand, the business wouldn’t exist. But this demand is coming from people who don’t understand or bother with quality. Forget about them. The people who understand and appreciate the effort, work and creativity that’s put into an original design, purpose, cause or belief will always choose the original. As for the imitators, if you’re incapable of original thought, you should just stop thinking.

* Dzireena also agrees with Herman Melville, who said ‘It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation’.



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