Fake (adjective): not genuine; imitation or counterfeit. Creative (adjective): relating to or involving the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something.
Fake (adjective): not genuine; imitation or counterfeit. Creative (adjective): relating to or involving the use of the imagination or original ideas to create something. Two fittingly conflicting words sit side by side in a perfectly chaotic yet creative universe: the universe of fashion. Globally, many of us have rejoiced over the sight of having found a fake in any form or format (Ah! LV bags, Chanel jackets, Gucci watches, Sabyasachi lehengas, Manish Arora blouses, etc.), however, it is an extremely serious topic of discussion and concern for our creative genesis. Extending his knowledge as well as distress over the matter, fashion guru JJ Valaya along with copyright lawyer Safir R Anand and fashion editor Nonita Kalra hosted a panel discussion titled “Plagiarism in Fashion” that included an interactive session on the need for awareness and action, involvement of Intellectual Property law in the country, the challenges, application and more recently in the capital.
Talking about the easiest way possible to protect ourselves from fakes, Valaya explained: “As a buyer, one needs to be vigilant. The easiest way to avoid buying fakes is to regularly visit listed stores. We as designer list out where we sell and the customer must ensure to buy only from these places. An educated client is as important as a responsible seller.” He also felt that there should be proper gate keeping to ensure quality checks: “There’s definitely no dearth of talent in India but having said that we also need to have an ‘edit’ or a quality check. We have over 25 fashion institutes and 30 fashion weeks but that doesn’t mean we should churn out fashion designers just like that. These are young kids who have popular brands as their first references. I think they lack guidance, so the first step to keeping the originality intact in fashion is the tool of editing. Also, in the future we should look at having a separate ‘Market Week’, which should purely function for business purposes. That way there will be no time for anyone to replicate what they have seen on the runway even before it has hit the racks.”
Addressing counterfeiting, where a product that is identical to that of another brand, is created and put up for sale and why it is a menace in India, Safir R Anand explained: “Counterfeiting is the replication of work. Copyrighting a product can help the artist to protect his work. Our country has struggled in protecting intellectual property when it comes to fashion, this is also because many new launches, products, etc. are not documented. The shopkeeper has to have a deterrence in his mind before selling a fake, which can only be created if he has the fear of action being taken against him.”
Asked if designers should come up with a mass market range to overcome the problem of catering to the middle class, Valaya concluded, “There are high fashion brands and then there are local brands. Consumers want the same amount of work (in their clothing) in a lesser price bracket and sadly, that’s not possible in reality. People want it to look as if they are wearing a heavy and original garment and I feel that is where the problem lies; if you want to look original, buy an original.”