Saturday, 21 May 2011

What Goes Around Comes Back Around

Designers, like the ones pictured above (Stella McCartney, Jil Sander and Prada) work around the clock to come up with collections that will not only be pivotal to the season but that will point fashion in a new direction. Again and again, they manage to turn last season’s allure into something entirely new, fresh and avant garde. The result of this is that season after season, we are instantly attracted to new designs by the fashion houses.

In a matter of weeks the great British high street has come up with their own collections, which like it or lump it, are based on the designs of creators like the above. We therefore have almost carbon copies of both Prada and Jil Sander’s bold stripes, or Stella’s tropic-inspired fruit, bursting out of shop windows on every high street in Britain.

I went on an undercover mission to Oxford St to snap examples of just how quickly the designs are replicated. In Zara I had to photograph the clothes in the changing room, coughing while the shutter went off as I was told I couldn't take pictures in the shop!

The question is, do we think this is a legitimate response to another’s idea? At a recent talk I went to by Hussein Chalayan at the ICA, he expressed his dismay at the rate in which high designs are reproduced, dispersing the originality and precious nature of the designer’s pieces themselves. However without this sometimes questionable relationship, the high street would be a shadow of itself and the economy arguably, less bright.

The reason why our high street is considered the best in the world is because the stock and collections change almost as quickly as the designers’ themselves. Even shops like Topshop and Zara will have creative teams that work incessantly to reproduce the next season’s trends so that their store is only half a step behind the ‘big dogs.’

Whilst I can understand the irritation designers feel at the system, could I really say that I wished it was any other way...No! I love the fact you can get a design you are drawn to for a wallet friendly price. Of course, the original would probably make me feel even better..

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