The issue of knockoffs has been a debate topic in the fashion industry for a while now. There are various fashion brands that have excelled from selling the cheaper version of luxury brands. The issue of copycats being discussed here has a little deviation from the general idea of knockoff. We have emphasised the fact that it is never alright to make a fake of the same image here and pass off as the real one. What is even worse about copying is taking another’s idea and making a few changes but passing it off as your own. This is what we call plagiarism in education. So, can there be plagiarism in Fashion?
The guys that mass produces the Gucci bag is out to deceive you to buy a fake Gucci bag at a lesser price. You think you can pass that off as the real deal. This bag is a Knockoff. However, when someone makes a few changes to the actual design of a real Gucci bag and puts his brand name on it, this is a copycat. And that is a worse offense than knockoff production. What are the consequences of these?
It is understood that copycats are harder to prosecute because it becomes difficult to prove the originality of design. That is since the bag isn’t an exact copy, the copied bag becomes a whole new design (sad, I know). In an environment like Nigeria, this is even worse because the law almost is in the favour of the one with the most cash.
Some other people can argue that the actions of copycats give room for healthy competition. How healthy can such competition be at the expense of some other person’s idea, while some others say that it reduces the incentives to actually become innovative? Why try to think of a whole new idea when I could just remix another person’s?
The fact remains that copycats have both positive and negative effects on the fashion industry. More negative than positive most times. This is because the smaller brands always seem to fall prey to the larger ones. This been said, there has to be a need to raise the consequences of copycats in Nigeria. People should not get bought out and compromise on their ideals. This rests on the people and somewhat on the Government. Report such cases and force the hands of the law to make the right decision. In order words, we are the start of the penalties to be meted out on copycats.
Source: businessoffashion.com, beautifully-invisible.com