|1946 | 2014|
Every once in a while a great fashion house will reproduce one of its older designs, much like how the big sewing pattern companies re-release vintage patterns. (Sort of like how Schiaparelli released a dress in 2014 that seems to be inspired by a 1946 dress that I've pictured above.) There are also times, especially back in the decades we vintage lovers are fond of, when a fashion house or designer would sell the rights to a design and allow others, usually department stores, to make licensed copies of them. These authorized copies were perfectly legitimate and a great source of income for couture fashion houses. (You can read this article for more in-depth info on this.)
Other times, the designs were blatantly stolen and reproduced. One such case is the Jovon-Lilli Ann wars over suit designs that Jovon pretty blatantly copied. (You can read about them on the No Accounting For Taste blog here!) Lilli Ann sued Jovon for this kind of design theft.
So enters the controversial question of the day: What do you think of copying and recreating vintage pieces? Do you consider this design theft or a legit way to preserve vintage style?
Here I'll attempt to present the case of both sides, then I'd love to hear from you guys!
So one side says, no way, copying vintage--especially name brand designs--is still plagiarism. The design house receives no money or recognition from the copy, so it isn't fair. Copying a vintage piece is just as wrong today as it was when Jovon did it back in the 50s. Not to mention, it dilutes the exclusiveness and rarity of vintage pieces. Designer labels are meant to be more exclusive, and copying them left and right takes away from the uniqueness of owning a true vintage couture piece.
Another side says that copying vintage pieces, even labeled ones, is perfectly fine. For many vintage designs, like Lilli Ann, the house or designer that created them no longer exists. There is no one to ask for a license to copy or a place to buy the pattern or finished garment. Even for design houses that do still exist, like Chanel, they are no longer producing that garment for us modern people to buy. (If they were.... I'm sure we would!) Copying actually preserves vintage style by making it available to more people, especially as supply continues to dwindle over the years.
So what are your thoughts? Is it okay to "copy the greats" or not? What sort of impact do you see copying having on the vintage community?
As usual, please keep your comments respectful and avoid accusatory or rude language. Thank you!