I wanted to write about a touchy subject in regards to designers and their work being copied. This is something I have noticed a lot within the ballroom world. Specifically with the costume design and jewelry making. My take while writing this is to stand back and look at the situation. I’m not taking sides but I will be making a few points.
So to start off with the reason why I notice this happening is because let’s say, DESIGNER A screenshots a very similar or exact design of a dress from DESIGNER B’s profile, whether this be on Facebook, Instagram, so on…
And they say something like, "this person has been copying my designs and my original work please unfollow them and know that their work is actually mine/unoriginal."
Now, let’s break this down for a moment.
DESIGNER A, if you want to be a designer, an original, well my friend I’m sorry to say, but expect to be copied. And I’m NOT saying that its okay they copied you, I’m saying don’t be so surprised.
BUT I can completely understand why you would be upset in the first place, someone has copied your work that you spent hours of your time creating, which isn’t easy. They are taking credit for it and unfortunately they may be making money off of it which is taking business away from you.
For the DESIGNER B who has copied the original I will say this. Not finding your own individuality will make your business not stand out as well you think. The reason why these big name brands are so successful is because they’ve found who they are as a designer. They have their own distinctive style to things, when you see a dress, you know it is theirs. And that takes time, sketches and looking into one’s self to find a way they can bring out themselves in their work that others can’t or don’t bother to look hard enough to find. If you are really wanting to make a dress like DESIGNER A then i think its appropriate to contact them about your idea of making the same or similar design. If they post about you copying their work don't be surprised!
As for DESIGNER A, I think it says a lot about who you are to screenshot the other designers work and post it on social media completely exposing them out to the public. I personally am not a fan of social media and the words people say to on another on there so I am not pleased when I see this. For the sake of your business please be professional. The only exception in which I think it would be okay to post something like this is after the fact that you contacted them personally and addressed your concern. If you have done this and they STILL continue to copy your work then I think its okay to publicly address it. In a professional manner!! Otherwise stay humble.
When I was in art class we would keep a notebook full of art that inspired us. Our intention from this was to get ideas of how we could incorporate different forms of media into our art. We basically draw out inspirations from other art that we haven’t thought of so then we could put together something of our own. If we copied a piece of art exactly, it even feels wrong doing it. You can try paint an abstract picture of a painting someone did on their own but there is not the same intention and thought behind it. It is incomplete. It is empty. This is a much deeper thought but something to consider.
In the world of Dancesport we have so many beautiful designers out there that have been making dresses and jewelry for years and there are new ones coming out such as myself. I think there is a chance that after all these years and after all being in the same world, that some things may be repeated once or twice... Look, we can only create so much until everything starts looking the same. So if you think you’re the only one with this brilliant idea, you’re probably not. Other people have most likely thought of the same thing but haven’t brought it to life yet or just have it on a piece of paper because they don’t have the tools to make it so they take that idea to someone to make it. I can tell you I thought I’ve had pretty amazing ideas for designs and scrolling through social media I have seen almost the same exact thing pop up. What? They didn’t see my design? They don’t even know me and we have a very similar idea… Exactly my point. So don’t be so quick to point fingers at someone who has a design S I M I L A R to yours. It seems as though we are walking on egg shells around each other because people are so eager to blame on another for copying. Like what I mentioned earlier, contact them personally if you really have a problem with it. And who knows maybe they will say, "hey yes I was inspired by your design and with that inspiration came this, I do plan on selling it but my intent is not to copy your work exactly". Now wouldn’t that be great? Can we just all be professional and at peace about these things? Now I know easier said than done but sometimes we need to set aside our pride to figure out some complications.
There is always going to be the dance mom that copies your design to make a dress for her daughter, there is always going to be the dancers who can’t afford to buy their own dress so they make one like yours. We can’t just point these things out to everyone, after a while it gets old. In the end I think we all need to support each other. Yes it is a competitive world but after the hard work is done we shouldn’t be bringing each other down, that is not true sportsmanship.
So moral of this blog is, find your individuality as a designer and dancer. You know copying is not right. Stay humble and professional. And love what you do!