Just this year, the industry’s most powerful fashion houses have been accused on multiple accounts of stealing ideas from young, student, up-and-coming designers. The fashion world has become very cut and copied, however, the mistreatment that high-end brands have towards students who are vulnerable in the industry has become almost a norm.
Fashion students obviously don’t have nearly as much money as a fashion house such as Maison Margiela, or Viktor & Rolf, yet they are still the masterminds behind the million-dollar collections and runway shows. This is truly disheartening for any students who want to start up small businesses or become artists, because companies take advantage of what they can find on social media, and use it however they please. For their Spring 2017 Runway show, John Galliano of Maison Margiela created makeup and ready-to-wear looks that strikingly resembled the works of fashion illustrator Alina Zamanova.
Kylie Jenner was also recently accused of completely copying an independent store called PluggedNYC, by replicating camouflage looks for her own line after her management contacted PluggedNYC and requested to be sent clothing. Her sister, Khloe Kardashian, is also accused of stealing work from black designers after news broke she might have copied ideas from indie lingerie designer Destiney Bleu.
More recently, at Paris Couture Week, Viktor & Rolf was accused of copying ideas that were sent in as an application for an internship. Terrence Zhou and Lizzi Shin are both students at Parsons The New School for Design, who collaborated and built a final project involving large, oversized, round heads, built around the theme of plastic surgery. Terrence applied for an internship at Viktor & Rolf two months before their most recent show, (which features large, round heads), and submitted a portfolio which included all the stages of the project.
Image Credit: Instagram/@tz_terrencezhou
Shin wrote in a post on Instagram four days after the couture show “I will save my words and let all of you judge for yourselves. Just because ‘everyone copies each other’ or you believe ‘there is no such thing as original design nowadays’ it does not make it okay to steal ideas from people who work so hard to create original work. These are NOT your ‘mascots’ if no-one has ever seen them from you until now.”
Fashion is mass-marketed and cheated to give louder applauses for those who don’t need it. These are the people who are running the industry, and who are pretending fashion is art and revolution in hopes of making a profit. As the industry continues to grow and expand, the hopes that it breaks its same-old rhetoric seem to fade away. Fashion, like most industries, has always been a business. Profit with elegance so to speak, but today it seems that designers are not looked at like people as they once were. Even still, retailers are hesitant and uncertain, international markets are uncomfortable, and brands’ profits are all over the place. It’s much easier to support something when you don’t have to do any real work to support it, and unfortunately, this microwaved version of the art form in fashion is the perfect example of supporting the opposite of what you believe in.