Friday, May 11, 2018

Copying: Crime or Compliment?

Isn't this Alexander McQueeen dress lovely? I love the way the two patterns of fabric are positioned vertically (with no seam at the waist) and although I have NOWHERE to wear it, I've always been a sucker for an off-the-shoulder dress!

It appeared in my Instagram feed quite some time ago and I just love it. I'm not crazy about the $700 price tag  though! So, I searched online and did some thinking, dug through my patterns and found some lace online that might work for it. I can remember where I bought it from, it's been that long!

But, I'm really perplexed... I'm feeling some guilt every time I try to get started on the pattern work. I'm a teacher, so there is no debating with me... copying is wrong! But, if I'm not trying to pass it off as my design, is it ok to knock off a designer? Perhaps I should make a dress that's "inspired by" this look, rather than a replica? On one hand, I really like the challenge of adjusting a pattern to create an exact "knock off". It would be time consuming, but gratifying (if it's successful). But, it would be faster and easier to just use an existing pattern with a similar "vibe". I'm not in a great place with my body these days, so investing a lot of time and trouble into a garment that I might not be wearing for a long time seems like a negative (IF I shrink soon).

So, if I were to take the "easy" way out, these are the patterns under consideration...
This one (McCalls 7466) is my daughter's pick. Very wearable, very similar. I could use the chevron lace and place it diagonal, like the stripes on the illustration. 
McCalls 4510 (OOP) came from a swap, I think. The wavy color blocking lines are fun, but would the linear stripes "clash" with the curves?

McCalls 7538 could be interesting, with the diagonals at the waist being a contrast. This pattern also has a scoop neckline (which I prefer), and the stripes of the chevron lace would make the "X" of the waistline even more defined.

So, what's your opinion... Is copying directly in bad taste or a form of flattery? If I use one of these pattern instead, which one do you favor?

p.s. The dress for my daughter is in the final stages and if the weather cooperates, I should be able to photograph it this weekend and post it in a few days! It SO super cute!!! We have a fun plan for the photo shoot, too!


Nancy K said...

Copying is common in down scale fashion and they sell it. Think H&M and Zara. I really don't think that it's a crime to copy it for our own use. I copied a $2600 Yves ST Laurent coat. There is no way that I could afford the original and it doesn't come in my size anyway. I have absolutely no compunction about copying and wearing a knockoff I've made. I didn't use the same fabric, buttons or lining as the original; obviously not available. I am not passing it off as the real deal and I'm not selling it. It's not like fake handbags where they are selling it like it's the real deal. They copy labels and facsimile materials.
I do think that selling a knockoff as the real deal or our own design is a crime, but that's not what you are doing.

Irene said...

It is perfectly acceptable to copy a design for your own use. That is one gorgeous dress that you've been inspired by!
(By the way - check out Silhouette Patterns - they are all copies of other designers. Apparently it's all perfectly legal.)

Unknown said...

Thanks! I’ve never worked with Silhouette, I’ll check it out!

Nursebennett said...

I’m so,glad you’re blogging again!

I agree totally with Nancy and Irene. You’re simply making a dress like one you admire. You’re not trying to pass it off as the original dress you would like to purchase. In fact, your dress will have your label in it and the fabric will be different. Not a crime at all. Can’t wait to see your daughter’s dress!

Anonymous said...

Not a crime at all. It’s for your own use and you’re not passing it off. Love the design.