We observed numerous examples through which a designer gains mass exposure, often through celebrities wearing their brand. The audience the brand ends up reaching (a younger demographic of under 25s) cannot obtain the originals, due to the higher price points of small brands. This is where DIY videos begin to gain virality, encouraging their viewers to believe they should make it on their own. Individuals, who after watching the tutorials have realised they can produce a dupe themselves, are then reselling them via Depop and similar platforms. And this is where the issue is born: The uninformed Depop consumer may think that they are supporting an ethical independent creator when in reality the design has been copied.
In most tutorials the original price point of the design is emphasised. “Knitting the $270 sweater for $12” the titles write, but the labour is never accounted for, as the objective is to impress with the cheapest price. It may not be the creator’s intentions, but this clickbait can lead to the belief that the original designs are overpriced. Those who go on to resell their dupes via Depop are usually not financially dependent on the profits, so the time taken to create the piece is not accounted for as part of the retail price. The materials for the sweater might have cost $12, but the creator’s labour is not paid by the consumer.
Once the designs have entered the mainstream, trend-cycle duplicates begin to appear in high street stores. As long as consumers indicate they do not value original designs and that the low price is their priority, these stores will not hesitate to steal from small creators.
What can we learn from the cases where this has happened? Have any designers expressed their frustration? Is there any way to determine if the benefits outweigh the negatives?