Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Copying Creates Trends

Post at the Freakonomics blog about Oscar fashions

“Ten minutes after any big awards telecast, the Faviana design team is already working on our newest ‘celebrity look-alike gowns,’” says Faviana CEO Omid Moradi.

The existence of firms like Faviana (or ABS, Promgirl, or any of a number of similar houses) raises fascinating questions about intellectual property. First, how can Faviana get away with blatantly copying a dress that someone else has designed? And second, why doesn’t this rampant and very rapid copying destroy the fashion industry?

The ability of a firm like Faviana to copy a dress means that hot designs spread rapidly, and trends rise and fall. Copying helps to create trends.  It then helps to destroy them: as more and more designers hop on to a trend, the look becomes overdone, and the most fashion-forward consumers hop off.  Copying, in other words, accelerates the fashion cycle.

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