Back in March, I wrote a story about the jewelry industry’s ubiquitous problem with imitators – manufacturers and individuals who brazenly steal ideas from hardworking designers and brands, then pass them off as their own.
It is a problem that plagues the company since there summer a company. But while to my knowledge there are no statistics on copyright infringement specifically for jewelry, the deluge of scams seems to be escalating. And that’s at all levels; Factories abroad, luxury fashion houses and even successful independent designers are guilty of theft of designs. I can’t name any names, but I saw the breathtaking side-by-side photos. There are even a few über-celebrated workshops that seem to copy the designs as a matter of course.
They get away with it for a reason: fighting imitators is quick and expensive. Very expensive. So most designers don’t bother going to war or suing their copiers after a few years.
Alison Chemla, founder of Alison Lou, said in March: “When I started out, [copycats] would make me so angry. But there came a time when I had to put on my blinders and make some new parts and move on.
While it is unrealistic to tackle imitators as a single designer, are there ways for the industry as a whole to combat them? David Kerr, an intellectual property attorney based in Boulder, Colo., Suggests that the industry make its own policy, noting, “If you can get enough movement in the industry from the people who say enough is enough, it could. work well.
One of the most obvious ways to do this might be to copy – a brilliant idea, that is.
The fashion industry has a major watchdog in Diet Prada, the Instagram page that calls for cases of fashion designers and luxury houses copying each other, which they often do, and sometimes even couture. .
Founded by fashion insiders Tony Liu and Lindsey Schuyler, Fashion business Calls it “fashion’s most feared Instagram account.” So true. Being called an imitator on Diet Prada, which has 2.8 million followers, means you should be ashamed, very ashamed. And you might even be canceled.
It’s been a powerful tool for the fashion industry because no one wants to be canceled… or humiliated. It is the ultimate deterrent.
Diet Prada sometimes attacks jewelry imitators, but he focuses more on clothing, catwalks and, increasingly, current affairs, on which he sometimes takes controversial positions. But there is just as much design theft in the jewelry world, and no one documents it with force or continuity.
Until recently, an Instagram feed with the @trashmanovich handle existed that occasionally called for jewelry scams, but it has since vanished from the ‘gram’.
This is a shame, as a point of sale that exposes industry imitators impartially could have a definite deterrent effect on offenders, especially brands that have been successful by directly copying the work of others (I am some- one of these brands on Instagram and I’m still – in disbelief that they are able to operate so freely, so dishonestly, and for so long).
If a consortium of small brands co-managed a Diet Prada-type industry site, there would be – at the very least – more visibility on the issue of copyright infringement. And that would clearly be a good start.
(Photo: Nisha A.)
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