ISSN: 20500726
First published in 2014
3 issues per volume
Volume 4 Issue 2
Cover Date: March 2017
Inspiration or prototype? Appropriation and exploitation in the fashion industry
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Authors:  Jennifer Ayres 
DOI: 10.1386/fspc.4.2.151_1

vintage,appropriation,creativity,creative work,fashion industry,labour,creative process

In this article I focus on the fashion industry’s relationship to vintage garments as design inspiration and product prototype. I analyse how appropriation of vintage is rationalized in standard industry practice and how ethical boundaries are drawn and maintained between ‘appropriation’ and ‘inspiration’ in the creative process. When talking with designers the discussion of inspiration and appropriation quickly becomes a personal and subjective discussion about the integrity of the design process and labour. So any discussion of creativity and industry practices has a responsibility to address the rank and file workers who bring artistic visions to life. Interns and employees in the industry were expected to knock-off other designs and designers while their own creativity was stifled and/or exploited. The central contradiction that emerges from this research is how an industry known for its creativity and ingenuity – notably an industry that polices copyright infringements around the world – routinely engages in practices of forgery that weaken both its claims to authorship and the lucrative status of designer-as-artistic-genius. I contend it is crucial to explore these issues through the situated and local everyday practices in the fashion industry in order to understand how these contradictions are navigated and even made profitable.
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