Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Are We Angry Yet?
I love, sleep, and breathe fashion. If you know nothing or very little about me, know this. I used to be a rabid fashion binger and spend hours upon hours with my nose in every fashion magazine, my favorite designers' websites, and my favorite shops. And it showed (still shows in some ways). My friends would always rave about wanting to raid my closet, I'd always be voted "best dressed/best fashion sense" in whatever organizations I was actively involved with, and people would always have something to say about what I was wearing. So, that all said, I feel like I have an unquestionable authority when it comes to fashion. Sure, I don't have a degree in design and my sewing skills are novice at best, but I feel like "the people" have unanimously (albeit semi-silently) given me this fashion key to the city.
In addition to this, I'm a jewelry maker; I abstain from using the word designer (although that's what naturally rolls off my tongue, not out of conceit) because I know there's a negative/arrogant connotation associated with this. So, being a freelance/independent jewelry maker/designer, I feel I can relate to my fellow indie designers because no matter what our trade or craft, we're really all facing the same uphill battle when trying to get our businesses off the ground.
So, it was only natural that I was fuming from the ears when I read the article about the Design Piracy Prohibition Act on Fashion Incubator (http://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/fashion-incubator-a-good-idea-while-it-lasted/), not to mention the Wiki article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design_Piracy_Prohibition_Act). Essentially, the aim of this act is to cut down on counterfeit "designer" duds and protect the big names, but it undeniably hurts the small-time designers in the end. My interpretation of it is that it will give hotsy totsy brands the right to do something like start up a lawsuit against a freelancer because they both decided to use a bubble skirt and strapless cutout top for a dress pattern. Let me take a moment to point out the absurdity/obvious flaw of this and say what we're all thinking: fashion is repetitive, just like all other art forms. That's why and how trends exist. The same thing happens in music all the time, though I won't go as far as to say that the Vanilla Ice "Under Pressure" thing was okay. Assuming that the statement that fashion is repetitive is correct (and it is), there's no way you could begin to enforce the regulation of something like that, so why would you pass a bill trying to do so? I know that this development may be semi-old news to some of you, but when I read the FI article, it was brand new to me. I hadn't been that outraged at the design/government bureaucracy since I heard about the CPSIA. *Cue the government major/degree holder in me to come out*
Now I know that a lot of you might be weary of reading on because you might have an image of me standing on my coffee table, making crazy hand gestures and yelling about this. I'm not going to make this a soap box post though; I'll keep my point concise and compelling because (even though I could go on all day about this) I know not everyone's a politics person. After all, this is a crafter's blog, so it wouldn't be entirely relevant anyway.
I am a cynic at heart, but there's always a part of me that refuses to acquiesce to this 100% for whatever reason. Even if it is true that the convincing voice of the people can never match the ever-tempting lobbyist donations for our senators and representatives, I feel we should all take time to write our congressmen and women. I can't imagine with their boxy 80s suits that they wear way too often that they're all fashion experts themselves, so maybe some of them earnestly don't understand how this could hurt the little guys (and gals). And if there really are enough of the good ones out there in Congress who are young and/or haven't been corrupted by the system, maybe they'll listen to our claims and react. After all, isn't one of our branches of the government currently defined by idealism at its core?
If you are unsure of who your representatives are, visit this nifty little website and enter in your zip code (http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/). I especially encourage all to write Kay Bailey Hutchison as she was a proponent of the bill but all the same seems like a very reasonable woman.