Fighting big fashion houses for cultural appropriation

The fashion industry means much more than glamour collections and runways, and is resting upon creativity and originality invested by hard working fashion designers. This is where the legal sphere comes into play, as many luxury brands or even small internet boutiques deal occasionally with claims of copyright infringement, unfair competition or trademark issues. Big fashion houses such as Dior, Valentino or Louis Vuitton have previously been accused of appropriating traditional clothing designs from various cultures around the world. Brands have found inspiration in local cultures without offering any acknowledgement of their original source. This way, small communities, which may have little information about these events or limited means of fighting against such called ‘plagiarism’, are left without any design or financial recognition.

This was also the case in a Romanian County, called Bihor, where the traditional clothing designs were believed to have been copied by Dior for its Pre Fall 2017 Collection. The similarities are indeed shocking:

Photo Credit: Vogue https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/pre-fall-2017/christian-dior/slideshow/collection#41

Photo Credit: Vogue https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/pre-fall-2017/christian-dior/slideshow/collection#41

 

Photo Credit: La Blouse Roumaine
https://www.facebook.com/LaBlouseRoumaine10/

However, the local craftsmen in Bihor decided to fight against Dior by developing their own authentic brand. With the help of an original Romanian Fashion Magazine: the Beau Monde, a new project has been launched in order to preserve and support the local cultures and traditions of Bihor.

The new clothing brand: Bihor Couture, presents the Romanian authenticity and promotes the importance of respecting originality and local cultures around the world. While the Dior clothing items can be considered to be highly overpriced, the Bihor Couture business is offering accessible prices and all funds are rightfully being returned to the original craftsmen in Bihor in order to support the community and preserve the continuity of its beautiful traditions.

Photo Credit: Bihor Couturehttp://www.bihorcouture.com/stories.php

The Bihor Couture story is just one of the many cases of cultural appropriation, and maybe a future example to be followed in order to make small communities or unknown designers heard, even against big names in fashion. Bringing awareness around such cases may prove to brands that even the smallest inspirational element deserves its credits and recognition, and that each design have been hardly created and preserved through history. 

One Comment

  1. F says:

    That’s an interesting point – so you aren’t suggesting that fashion brands should stop copying or borrowing from traditional cultures, just that they give credits and recognition to the culture they borrowed it from? I guess it can be good for traditional cultures when fashion brands decide to borrow from traditional cultures, as it raises publicity and interest for that culture. It may provide them with a source of income if people decide to buy more clothing from the people of that culture as the big fashion brands have made it popular. So copying from local cultures may not always be negative if done in the right way

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