Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Which Came First: Designer or Design?

Living in China has been an innovative experience. As the country that "makes it all and fakes it all", it is not a surprise to see, in mass production, the latest fashion creations, trends, and styles. Many people come to China from all over the world to start and develop their business brands. It may be of original design, or a design curated by the manufacturer. Think: original design manufacturing (ODM) vs original equipment manufacturing (EDM).  Because of this, I'm always puzzled as to which came first: the designer or the design?

What usually occurs when a trend is about to hit globally after it is produced in China is extreme visibility- the design or style is apparent everywhere- in the stores, on the train, in different colors, in mimic styles, whether it is to be the "intended design or not." Give or take a few weeks and the design is on the cover of a magazine or worn by a celebrity.

Perfect example is this multicolored tribal strap. Most commonly sold as a purse strap or bag handle, I saw it sold as a belt and phone case strap too. 

1. High end use of the purse strap by Valentino 

Quick Note: Valentino says made in Italy, but as I have learned from other luxury brand companies, like Louis Vuitton for instance, their bags may be manufactured in China and sent to Italy where the labels are stitched on as "made in Paris"- qualifying the bags to be proclaimed as made in Paris, even if most or all of the bag is made in China. 

Think: Labeling Laws according to the item's country. Check out what qualifies a label as "made in USA" and what unqualifies a label here

2. Lower End use of the purse strap by Lily Vanity

3. Phone case strap at Nordstrom Rack

Now, which came first: the Designer or the Design? It is easy to say that an artist or designer's original design was inspired by another creation, however, there is nothing original about any of the tribal fabric in relation to these three brands because it is the exact item. 

This may relate to why there is no copyright protection for the  aesthetic value of an item. Furthermore, I doubt any of these brands will sue on behalf of the multicolored tribal fabric. 

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