By Keith Aoki & James Boyle& Jennifer Jenkins
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Perhaps the signal feature of American fashion today is its dizzying diversity of design and style—and the frequency and speed with which appealing designs are knocked off. WHY ARE KNOCKOFFS LEGAL? Striking or popular fashion designs have long been reinvented, reinterpreted, and sometimes simply ripped off. Complaints about copying date back at least to the beginning of the 20th century, and probably further. Writing in the 1920s, Columbia business school professor Paul Nystrom declared that “the extent of the evil of copying is almost unbelievable.
Schwartz and Faviana, center their business strategies around copying striking designs. The practice is so widespread that the magazine Marie Claire features a regular section titled “Splurge vs. 3 At times the two versions are virtually indistinguishable. The ubiquity of knockoffs in the fashion world is the direct result of a gap in American copyright law. Copyright protection in the United States does not extend to fashion designs, and in the more than 200-year history of US law regulating creative endeavors it never has.
11 Fashion continued to globalize and grow in the 1980s and 1990s. Italy became the new hotspot due to the dramatic rise (or rebirth) of firms such as Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Versace, and Prada. Japan too became a first-tier player, both as a source of innovative designs (Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake) and, for a time, the number one luxury goods market in the world. Russia, after the fall of communism, likewise became a major market packed with new money. And New York continued to grow as a center for design, with New York Fashion Week increasingly prominent among the global circuit of fashion shows.