In fashion, there has always been a fine line between inspiration and copier. Virgil Abloh, who has been accused of plagiarism during his career, has dubbed it the “3% rule”: modifying an existing design by just 3%, and that’s considered something new.
Earlier this week, critics cracked down on the fledgling brand Stan, created by surfer and model Tristan Detwiler, citing its remarkable resemblance to the Bode collection. His drop line was inspired by the Bumann Quilters in California, a group he is now a member of, and their lessons on how to reuse old quilts. He proposed a film starring the group and showed a collection of jackets, pants and shorts made from these recycled materials.
The line, its choice of materials and its inspiration are strangely reminiscent of what Emily Bode has been creating for four years from old textiles. But it’s not a scam, Detwiler stressed, just his own take on reusing vintage fabrics. And he’s not alone: Everyone from Greg Lauren to Raf Simons to Calvin Klein has used recycled fabrics and quilts as inspiration for their collections over the years. And Detwiler’s spring collection was similar too, but didn’t seem to create the hubbub of it, which resulted in stories in The New York Times and GQ. Additionally, patchwork and colorblocking was evident in other collections showcased last week, most notably Kuon and Ka Wa Key.
Even so, the similarities between Bode and Stan are remarkable. One source pointed out that Stan’s prices for his quilted coats are oddly specific and identical to Bode’s: $ 1,554; the placement of pockets and buttons and the overall silhouette of Stan’s coats are almost identical to Bode’s; Stan’s ecommerce site layout is the same as Bode’s and he also photographs all of his pieces against a dirt wall on a hanger like Bode, and even much of the ecommerce editorial is the same. . The Bode site reads: All wear, mending and peculiarities are unique to antique textiles. Stan’s says: All features, mending, and wear are unique to the original fabric.
But Detwiler asks to delay. Responding to an email request for comment, he told WWD: “In 2019, I was working on a design project at USC, where I was inspired to create wearable art in the hope. that people might appreciate my work outside of the traditional gallery setting. This continues to be a major source of inspiration for my work. Stan will always be an expression of my personal experiences – my international surfing adventures, my travels and of course the Bumann Quilters of Olivenhain, Calif., A group of women whom I was fortunate to have been welcomed into the circle. respondent. open arms. These ladies shared with me techniques and textiles that have been passed down through generations.
He went on to say that “discovering rare and unique textiles with rich historical origin stories is what energizes me creatively. I am aware of the comparisons that have been made between my brand and others that have come before me, especially Bode. I think these par value comparisons are easy to make given our use of similar raw materials. “
However, he said that “I never intended to co-opt another brand’s aesthetic. I believe that my brand identity will always be rooted in the Southern California surf culture that I am the product of. My hometown of San Diego is a coastal and barefoot mecca for surfers. The idea behind the first quilted jacket I made was inspired by a ritual of wrapping myself in quilts on cold mornings on the beach.
Detwiler said he had “the utmost respect for Bode, but felt that we belong to different worlds”.
He said his collection will continue to be unique pieces that he makes himself and that his use of vintage textiles will continue. “My love for quilts is not a passing fantasy – my creative goal is to cherish each textile and honor its unique provenance. I ask for permission and blessing from the curators and designers of textiles. It is also important for me to continue the sustainable and waste-free business model that I have been committed to from day one.
He said this aesthetic will continue beyond fall 2021 and that he doesn’t intend to create “a radically new aesthetic every season. I feel like I have found my creative niche and want to explore ways to develop novelty in this world.
Emily Bode, founder of Bode, declined to comment on Stan and Detwiler.
Douglas Hand, a partner at Hand Baldachin & Associates law firm and a specialist in legal aspects of the fashion industry, said that while there may be similarities between the two lines, there is no legal protection under existing intellectual property laws for either brand. collections.
For a trademark to be protected, it must fall into one of three categories, he explained. The first is a brand, which is the name of the brand or a design feature like the red Christian Louboutin soles, which are used over and over again by the same brand and come to represent its identity.
Then there is copyright protection, which is often used for music or works of art, but which does not apply to fashion, especially in this case, since Bode and Stan use recycled fabrics. created by others – and each is different.
The last option is to get a patent, which is typically used for the creation of technologies such as waterproofing, and neither of those brands would qualify in this category either.
“There is no protection for these types of models,” said Hand, “because they are both inspired by others. I love what Bode does, its use of upcycled fabrics creates a great bohemian vibe. And I don’t think Stan nefariously said, “Look how well Bode is doing, I’m going to do the same.” Like Detwiler, Hand said he grew up in Southern California and wrapped himself in a quilt on the beach before surfing on a cold morning was just part of the culture.
Add to this the fact that the designs of both brands – the work or chore coat or the wide leg pants – are basic men’s clothing, “and neither is protected”.
Hand summed it up like this: “What would be a shame is if someone feels forbidden to create upcycled fashion because others are doing it longer.”
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