It is a truth universally acknowledged that it is particularly hard being a rising fashion designer in the Instagram era.
Now more than ever, emerging designers are victims of fast-fashion companies, which scout talents via social media and reproduce their designs for a quarter of their original price.
Because fashion trends move so fast and, for some people, only last one season, it is very likely that consumers will opt for cheaper versions of a particular design especially if that piece will only be in vogue for a few months. In so doing, the fast-fashion industry makes ideas less special, hindering some of the fundamental principles of fashion such as creativity, uniqueness, and authenticity.
This multi-billion-pound copycat economy has damaging consequences especially for new designers as they lack a strong brand identity and a loyal customer base. Therefore, it often happens that shoppers do not realize they are purchasing a knockoff because they have never seen the original designs.
In addition, young designers have limited resources to defend their rights. Even when they have a legitimate claim, more often than not, they do not have the economic means to fight back and spend money on legal fees. Emerging designers should focus on growing their brand and not spending a big proportion of their annual budget in fighting legal battles against these billionaire companies.
So, are young designers Don Quixote fighting against windmills?
Luckily, NO. Social media can be used as a double-edged sword and this time it is to their advantage. It is true that fast-fashion companies scout IG accounts to check out new designers’ latest work, but it also true that their “image” and “reputation” is what keep their copycat business going and designers can use this to their favour.
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