WASHINGTON — The fashion world is taking a different tack to copyright protection.
The two groups backing copyright protection for designers are shifting their priorities from a legislative solution that remains stalled in Congress and are focusing instead on industry initiatives addressing design piracy and knockoffs, as well as other hot-button policy battles.
While the Council of Fashion Designers of America said it is not giving up on the legislation, it is looking at other areas to promote awareness of the damage that counterfeiting wields on fashion designers, according to Steven Kolb, chief executive officer of the CFDA. RELATED STORY: CFDA, eBay Team Up on Second Collection of Totes >>
The American Apparel & Footwear Association also still supports the compromise legislation it helped hammer out with the CFDA, but is moving on to other legislative battles while there is a “lull” in moving the design piracy legislation forward, said Kevin Burke, president and ceo of the AAFA.
It has been five years since the legislative battle for copyright protection began in the fashion industry. What has come out of the lobbying campaign for the legislation is a higher level of collaboration between the AAFA, which opposed the initial bill, and the CFDA, which has taken the fight into its own hands and launched anticounterfeiting campaigns as an industry initiative.
The latest version of the bill in the House, known as the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act, was introduced in July and would put more teeth into copyright protection for fashion creations, claiming that design piracy and knockoffs are stifling innovation. The bill would cover “deliberate copies that are substantially identical to the protection designs” and would provide protection for three years.
Kolb said the CFDA still champions the legislation and is in contact with House and Senate lawmakers involved in the bill, but he noted that the organization has also launched industry initiatives to address counterfeiting in the meantime.
“I think what we learned over the last five years is that in some ways, we have to be responsible ourselves for the messaging around intellectual property,” Kolb said.
He pointed to the CFDA’s creation in the fall of a “Design Manifesto,” as well as a separate collaboration with eBay on an anticounterfeit campaign known as “You Can’t Fake Fashion” that also touts the importance of original and authentic design. Several designers are participating in the campaign, creating tote bags with customized designs that are being sold exclusively on eBay.
Asked whether the CFDA has pulled back on its lobbying effort on the legislation, Kolb said: “I don’t know that it has been scaled back, but it is not a sprint. It is a marathon. If we learned nothing else in this giant civics lesson, we learned that’s the way things work in Washington.…A bit of patience is needed. We remain focused on it, but we are also building other ways to spread the word on why intellectual property belongs to the person who created it and shouldn’t be stolen from them by a pirate.”
Burke said the AAFA is ready to snap into action if the bill begins to move through committee, but other issues have moved to the top of the association’s lobbying agenda in the interim. But the industry is resolving some of the problems in the absence of a legislative fix.
“When two industry groups understand each other better, there is less of a need to go to a legislative solution,” he said, adding later that problems within the industry will “fix themselves because of better lines of communication between the two groups. When an issue is hot, we have to jump on it. If design piracy gets hot, we will be all over it, but it is not hot now.”
In light of the lack of traction on the bill, Rick Darling, president of LF USA and chairman of the AAFA, said, “I think what you are seeing is great collaboration that took place between the AAFA and the CFDA, and neither party necessarily needs the government to intervene right now. We’re actually cooperating pretty well together.”
Darling said the relationship has built more trust in the industry, whereas in the past “both parties, I think, felt they needed legislation to be able to protect themselves from each other.
“The conclusion was that it is not really true because [they] are all in it together,” Darling added. “So once the issue really got out, there seems to be a little bit less of an urgency on the part of the parties because they are actually cooperating together.”
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)