Fashion means change. Designers are always under constant force to maintain their creative momentum by bringing into the market new fashion innovations that will reveal new artistic designs and appeals to the customers. However, the fashion pirates who tweak the design, take it to another country, manufacture similar designs and sell them cheaply to the demise of the original design are pulling them behind. Therefore, the piracy of designs has to be stopped. This article deals with fashion design prospection laws (Kathryn and Janine, 2012, 86).
Proposal argument for the enactment of copyright laws for fashion design protection
Fashion piracy is a very common practice, which has caused designers many knockoffs. After some days of an innovative new fashion design appearing in the global market, that design is slightly adjusted, manufactured in china and loaded in the racks of forever 21, H&M, uniqlo, and other retailers of fashion who are fast for a price below $50 in remote or locally based malls around the world. One is left to ask if there is anything, the designers can do to stop the knockoffs. With the current, US intellectual property law there is nothing much they can do but this could change by the use of copyright laws (Stecker and Pamela, 2008,67).Fashion designers can use the US and the Europe intellectual law to protect their fashions against piracy. Copyright and trademark law are the two-relvant forms of intellectual property protection for fashion designers.
In US, copyright law protects the original expressions such as texts or graphics but does not protect functional elements. Belts buckles, jewelry and clothes labels are eligible for copyright protection. On the other hand, shape and silhouette of the apparel are not eligible for copyright protection because they are considered utilitarian. Copyrights protect decorative elements of the designs graphic images or patens on the fabric. Copyright infringement claims are substantial when the original is similar to the knockoff. This implies that, the knockoff has the same artistic appeal as the original to the ordinary person. However, if the knockoff has a distinguishable difference from the original, and is not an unquestionable copy, it has no effect on the original. Fashion design varies over time and place; moreover, cultural and social latitudes of a people group have also greatly influenced fashion design. In a number of ways, fashion designers work to design clothing and accessories (Gale and Kaur 2004,90).Fashion designers either chose to work alone or as a team. Due to the time required to bring a garment to the market and the anticipated change in consumer tastes, fashion designers attempt to design both aesthetically pleasing and functional clothing to satisfy the consumer’s desire for aesthetically designed clothing (Stecker and Pamela, 2008,67)
However, even before the designers reap the benefits of their design, the design is pirated changed a little bit and they brought to the market as a knockoff to compete the original. Since the knockoffs are cheaper than the original, it gains popularity and sales more than the original design. Majority of the US designs pirated and then the textiles and accessories are remodeled in china and then sent back to US to compete the original. This I the reason why there is need to protect the original designs by using intellectual protection laws copyright. The proposed piracy design prohibition, can serve to change the illegal practice of pirating new designs immediately they are brought to the market. The proposed piracy design act HR bill no.2196 will grant copyright protection of three years period to a variety of apparel. Any apparel hat is registered with the register of copyrights is protected and liability is imposed on companies or designers who copy the design. The penalty for copying would be greater than $250, 000 in aggregate of $5 per copy, an indirect reliability is imposed on the third parties like sellers and distributors who benefit from the infringement (Karla, Nielson, 2007, 45-90).
Many people have challenged the proposal on the penalty of copying and the copyrights protection. This argument for and against the bill bring out the open source and the closed source IP argument. The proponents of the bill argue that the ability of the designers benefiting from their designs is the major motivator and contributor to fashion innovations. On the contrary, the opponents argue that free flow of information is the major driver of fashion innovation. Further, the y argue that it is unlikely that the purchaser of an apparel worth $200 knockoff would pay 5 times that amount to the original if the bill were enacted. In Europe copyright law are very strict and anybody discovered to have pirated or copied a fashion of another designer is heavily fined.
The enactment of copyright laws and protection of piracy will steer the designers and motivate than to innovate new designs to be competitive in the market. While making these aesthetically pleasing as well as functional clothing, fashion designers consider both the likely wearer of the garment and at what situations, events or occasion. In their work, fashion designers choose from a wide range and combinations of materials, colors, patterns and styles to work with. According to Karla and Nielson fashion design started in the 19th century with Charles Frederick Worth being the first designer to have his brand name sewn into his created garments (Karla, Nielson, 2007, 45-90). Worth’s success was such that he was able to dictate to his customers what they should wear, instead of following their lead as earlier dressmakers had done. Innovations enable fashion designers to differentiate their products and improve their competiveness and textile still seems to underpin the structure of fashion. Fashion is also an expression of what people feel and think (Kadolph, Sara J. and Anna L. Langford, 2001, 38)
At all market levels, consumers demand products that are innovative, individual and technologically advanced. The design process more than ever builds on serious consideration of the consumers needs and desires in order to satisfy an increasingly sophisticated and discerning market (Gale and Kaur, 2004, 70)
It will be difficult for the fashion designers to knockout knockoffs if the copyright laws are not implemented. As well, trademark laws will help the designers to eliminate label pirates and protect consumers against confusion of the quality and originality of the fashion.
Gale and Kaur. Fashion and Textile: An Overview. New York: Oxford Publishers, 2004.
Kadolph, Sara J. and Anna L. Langford. Textiles. New York: Prentice Hall, 2001.
Karla, Nielson, J. Interior Textile: Fabrics, applications, & historical syles. New Jersey: Johnn Wiley & Sns, 2007.
Kathryn M. and M Janine. Fashion Design: Process, Innovation and Practice. Chichester, UK: Wiley and Sons Ltd., 2012
Stecker and Pamela. The Fashion Design Manual. Australia: MacMilan Education Australia, 2008.