The Big Brand Rip
In our Business Advice section and in-house seminars we often advise start-up labels on how they can protect themselves and the designs they create. The stories over design copyright frequently make the headlines but what about the many small scale or start-up designers that simply cannot afford to take legal action?
FashionCapital was recently alerted to such a case. A young brand relatively new to the Fashion Scout catwalk during London Fashion Week, Cimone, impressed us with their unique silhouettes and vision. Just three seasons old, the brand consists of a small team, just two people and a few regular freelancers. Cimone’s creative director, Carli Pearson, honed her skills at Pucci, Alexander Wang and McQ before wanting to break out and create an aesthetic of her own.
After receiving fantastic reviews from press and marking the beginning of the Cimone brand, the team were shocked when they saw the Oscar de la Renta SS18 collection. The looks weren’t just similar to Cimone’s SS17 show presented one-year before but they were practically identical. The images below (supplied by Cimone) show the undeniable similarities.The placement, the colours, the embroidered paint, the all-white looks, even down to some of the ‘relaxed’ silhouettes.
This idea of embroidered paint splashes was personal. It came from a print making student’s dirty paint covered Nike sweatshirt at Central Saint Martins it was an idea that Carli first showed to her tutor Louise Wilson, and it was with this that Carli won her favour (which was notoriously hard to win!). Carli had been saving this for more than a decade, only to be ripped off within one-year of showcasing it.
We know at FashionCapital how difficult those first years in business can be, getting in front of buyers, getting enough orders, maintaining brand momentum, but to get blatantly ripped-off by a long established, international brand is quite frankly disgusting. Cimone obviously do not have the finances to sue this brand giant. They do not want to quit and they do not want their brand to die out before it has begun. However, there is a need to highlight the issue and reveal yet another example of what is wrong with the fashion industry. Plagiarism should not be celebrated and brands doing this should not be able to get away with it.
Naturally Cimone have contacted Oscar de la Renta about the matter directly but to no avail. They have also posted about it via their Instagram page (@cimoneuk) and now Oscar de la Renta’s social media team have blocked them. The Cimone team want to make emerging brands out there aware of this issue. They have asked that the industry spreads the word, that this cannot be acceptable and that big brands should not be immune to moral standards because they are in a stronger financial position.
Start-up brands be aware and protect your designs as much as you can – get informed and keep detailed records as proof. Please share this story, thanks to Cimone for sharing and we hope the brand can recover, continue and evolve for many more seasons to come.
Jenny Holloway CEO of FashionCapital/Fashion Enter comments: “There is a major misconception in the industry that if you change a garment seven times then it’s free from copyright infringement. This is all so wrong. There are poor practices in the industry and all designers need to be aware of passing off, copyright issues and a rounded view of the different aspects of intellectual property. This is exactly why we have our Legal Eagle Nick Gould to host regular seminars.
“There are lots of practical ways of protecting your IP too – that’s exactly why we give away a free confidentiality agreement in our Tools of the Trade so you can download this document, paste on your logos and start to sell.”
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