Since our Adventures in Copyright feature began five years ago, we’d venture to guess knock offs of designer goods have become even more common. And just like there isn’t yet legislation preventing 14-year-olds from walking in runway shows, there isn’t really legislation keeping designers from copying each other, but that doesn’t mean the CFDA won’t do their best to see that it doesn’t happen.
Back in 2010, we learned about a proposed new bill that would offer more protection to designers. Called the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act, it was supported by the CFDA, but not always by the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), who represent manufacturers (who may be manufacturing some of those knock-offs). However, according to WWD, the two groups have been collaborating over the past five years on finding ways to prevent design piracy even though a bill has not yet passed.
“I think what we learned over the last five years is that in some ways, we have to be responsible ourselves for the messaging around intellectual property,” Steven Kolb told WWD. So, how do they plan to do that? Last year, the CFDA released the Design Manifesto, a poster, which you can see below, which they sent to over 1,300 people in the fashion industry. They are also launching a second “You Can’t Fake Fashion” campaign, a collaboration with eBay, for which designers like Diane Von Furstenberg and Francisco Costa have designed tote bags.
Both efforts do help send the message that counterfeiting is bad and original design is good. Which is great, but will it really stop Forever 21 from repeatedly knocking off talented, innovative designers? Probably not. However, WWD suggests that the fact that the CFDA and the AAFA are working together and not against each other is in itself a step in the right direction. Does this mean actual legislation is less of a priority? To the AAFA, it does: Rick Darling, president of LF USA and chairman of the AAFA, told the paper:
I think what you are seeing is great collaboration that took place between the AAFA and the CFDA, and neither party necessarily needs the government to intervene right now. We’re actually cooperating pretty well together.
Steven Kolb is just being patient:
If we learned nothing else in this giant civics lesson, we learned that’s the way things work in Washington.…A bit of patience is needed. We remain focused on it, but we are also building other ways to spread the word on why intellectual property belongs to the person who created it and shouldn’t be stolen from them by a pirate.
We look forward to seeing what they have planned; though without an actual law behind it, we’re not sure how effective they will be.