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WRIT 340 Paper 3 Final Draft

WRIT 340 Paper 3 Final Draft - 1 Trang Ho Writing 340...

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Trang Ho Writing 340: Section 65060 Yance Wyatt Assignment #3 October 26, 2010 Imitation is the Most Beneficial Form of Flattery Imitation is often considered a sinful act, especially in arts. However, fashion imitations, widely known as knockoffs, are such a common fixation that many women’s magazines feature a fashion section called “Splurge vs. Steal,” often juxtaposing lookalikes, such as the iconic wrap dress by Diane von Furstenberg for $340 and a uncannily similar- looking one from Forever 21 for only $22. It is important to acknowledge that there are two main types of knockoffs: trademark infringement and design infringement. Trademark knockoffs are illegal, such as the street-side Gucci bags sold on Canal Street in New York. On the other hand, patents of apparel designs are not protected under U.S. law; as a result, designers can legally copy one another. Although many argue that the act of buying knockoff apparel is comparable to downloading pirated music or even buying a stolen bike, few people realize that copying designs is the driving force behind the fashion industry. Though conventionally considered an unethical practice in many other industries, imitation is surprisingly ubiquitous and often times encouraged in the fashion world; this ethical dilemma is thus unresolved because copying apparel designsimitation of apparel designs is the engine that drives the fashion industry forward, making it one of the most lucrative and dynamic industries in America. 1
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One of the most compelling arguments against the knockoff culture is that without ownership, there is no motivation to innovate. To maintain this argument, the supporters of design protection paint a vivid depiction of the fashion world without patents. Mass-production companies like Forever 21 can easily copy the newest designs from luxury brands and manufacture thousands of knock-off copies even before the originals are available at the stores (hence the name “fast-fashion”). These companies then flood the marketplace with cheap imitations of high fashion, perpetuating in a sharp decrease in clothing prices. A high-end designer like Helmut Lang has to drive his clothing prices down in order to stay competitive; therefore, he works in earnest to create innovative looks every new season yet struggles to make a profit. In the mean time, Lang’s copycat competitors make millions of dollars off of his effort and talent. Designers will eventuallyDesigners will eventually lose the drive to create. Manufacturers will become more reluctant to produce original collections because of high costs and low financial returns. Worst of all, while established designers struggle, young emerging designers will have no chance to break into the industry. The American fashion industry will soon wither, leaving the hay day of Vogue, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen and the likes fade away into a distant past.
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