BLOGGERS! Stop promoting knock-offs!
Once again, as I’m cruising on the internet my mood instantly sours. I see it; the dreaded “Cheaper Alternative /slash/ Get This Look For Less” article. And no, it wasn’t on a DIY blog – (which I could understand the ‘copy this look for less’ type of post) It was on a popular shelter blog that relies on paid advertisers of companies who make and sell the original items. (oh the irony!…) The writers usually say how much they *love* the original design but it’s too expensive, so just buy a knock-off instead. And the writer justifies the post, because after all, they are still giving credit and links to the original design… only to insult them in the same breath. I just want to cyber jump through the screen and shake em! “Don’t you get it?! Don’t you see how these type of posts hurt designers? This isn’t a way to promote an item you supposedly *love*!”
And then there’s all the reader comments! Oh why do I torture myself with the comments? – If I read “imitation is flattery” one more time! – That statement was made up by moms getting their kids not to fight. Little brothers imitate their big brothers. There’s no such thing as flattering imitation in design. To a designer, it’s a knock-off and it stings.
I like to think this blog is different from most shelter blogs. And I like to think my readers are smarter than most commenters. It’s gonna be hard work to counteract the stupidity on the internet but as a media ally with Be Original (http://www.beoriginalamericas.com), I’m ready to take on the battle.
As a supporter of original design I urge you to:
Always check the label: Authentic makers always identify themselves on their product. Generally by way of a firmly affixed label on the underside of the piece, often incorporating or accompanying a badge with the designer’s name and signature. If the piece has no label, or not the label of the known authentic source, you can be confident it is a knock-off.
Check the source: If the retailer / distributor does not proudly identify themselves as the distributor of ‘authentic,’ ‘authorized,’ or ‘original’ designs by the named designer and the authorized manufacturer, it is a knock-off. Generally these knock-off sellers will attempt to trade on the designer’s name by using them in identifying the individual design, or in the descriptive copy of the piece and it’s ‘history,’ but they won’t use the authorized manufacturers’ names. They may also use language such as ‘inspired by designer name’ or even an abbreviation of the designers’ names, in order to circumvent the trademark and rights of publicity associated with the designer.
Check your conscience: The buyer holds the power to end the knock-off industry by simply not supporting them, and in buying the authentic they assure themselves of quality and lasting value. Importantly, they also serve a larger social good, as they support the future of design by rewarding those who truly create. This encourages designers and their manufacturing partners to continue to innovate, by assuring them their work and investment will be rewarded.
I also encourage you speak up for original design. See a pro-fake post that insults original designers? Comment in support of the original! It’s time we stand up or we’ll all get knocked over and knocked off.
Have something to say about knock-offs? I encourage you to comment here!