The Thobe is the most copied piece in the fashion industry
Shameless distributors and retailers need to respect the hard work that goes into the design process and give the designers credit where credit is due. It is one thing to get inspired but it’s completely another to copy the entire DNA and design concept of a certain brand.
So, what should designers do when they see their work copied as it is?
My opinion is not to keep quiet; to call the copycats out on social media so that they think twice before they post any photo of their copies.
Although it is beneath anyone to call out someone on social media or bully the imposters but unfortunately it’s the only way to force them to stop.
To further discuss this important and recurring issue in the fashion industry, I decided to dedicate a series of interviews on my blog with some of my favourite and most reputable designers, lawyers and entrepreneurs with whom I will be talking about fashion fraudsters and copycats.
The beginning is with the distinguished Haute Couture designer Rami Al Ali, one of the most celebrated designers in the UAE and even the West. His sense of refinement and attention to details are immaculate, and his sleek lines have become part of his signature.
Hatem: Thank you Rami for taking the time to talk about this subject. How do you deal with the Imposters copying your work?
Rami: The person who copies, will always be one step behind. That is why I have learned with time to keep reinventing myself and develop techniques that are more than just creative ideas… Something that only your own client, will enjoy and any other attempt to copy will be an obvious fail.
Hatem: Don’t you feel that social media has become a great vehicle for calling them out? It has proven to be quite effective!
Rami: True, and that is quite important nowadays and we should keep an eye on it.
Hatem: It has been noticed that calling them out on social media shames them and makes them think twice before posting; do you advise that? Or are you against it?
Rami: It’s quite sensitive to be honest. Who would be the fair judge to give a verdict? And what would be the measures? We are all exposed to the same sources of inspiration and now with the digital era and social media it is very difficult to proof the originality or authenticity of any idea.
Hatem: They tell me “Imitation is the best form of flattery” I tell them “not with bad execution”! With “bad execution” we risk having these designs mistaken for ours and that is the biggest fear. Of course our type of clients can spot it from a mile away, but what do you advise designers to do to protect their work?
Rami: It is getting more and more difficult. I would just tell them to have a strong identity, keep developing techniques that give their creations a very strong visual presence.
Hatem: Do you think taking action against fashion imposters is worth pursuing or is it a lost cause?
Rami: Most of the previous attempts, whether the ones that reached court or just through media naming and shaming, never gave positive results due of the nature of our business and the difficulties of proofing originality. Nevertheless a statement should always be issued from the house that has been copied in order to clear their point, at least to their own customers.