Fashion-Incubator: a good idea while it lasted

[amended] Welcome visitors from Boing Boing! See the back story.

Sounds dramatic doesn’t it? Bye-bye Fashion-Incubator. It was fun while it lasted. Truth be told, I have to change my business model and get into something else. Am I happy? No, not one bit. I’m a bit resentful, nearly 30 years of work in the toilet. The reason for the change is it is likely the Design Piracy Prohibition Act is going to become law. If it does, F-I is history. So whether you believe it yet or not, I won’t be around to say “I told you so” -as though I’d get any pleasure out of it anyway. Consumers and enthusiasts will also be paying the price. Consumers will spend lots more money on clothes and enthusiasts won’t have any patterns since those designs need to be registered too and there won’t be domestic fabric if all the manufacturers go under.

It is apparent people are not taking the matter of the Design Piracy Prohibition Act seriously; the detrimental effects I mentioned before when I started the petition. If this law passes, I have to remove Fashion-Incubator from the internet; there won’t be any need for it and I cannot afford a law suit if my advice enables someone to commit what will be a “crime”. None of this is new, I first brought it to your attention two years ago. If CPSIA was an amputation, the Design Piracy Prohibition Act is a beheading.

Not all large businesses support this law; the largest industry group, the venerable American Apparel and Footwear Association is likewise opposed. They’ve created an automated widget where you can automatically email your legislators. Kevin Burke (CEO of the AAFA) says the bill’s passage is likely because legislators haven’t heard opposition from individual businesses.

First, read Kevin’s memo he sent to AAFA members. It includes the names and phone numbers of the most important people to contact, talking points and what to do. As you should have seen with the CPSIA fiasco, it’s impossible to change a law once it’s passed. It is within your hands to prevent your own pending bankruptcy.

Send emails. Sign the petition. That’s two more things you can do right now. I have over 5,000 daily visitors and I only got 1,300 signatures on my petition? You know, I could see it if this were just about me but it’s not. It’s about saving yourself. I suggest you also hold your suppliers and collaborators accountable. I will have all my site sponsors and advertisers get involved. If we die, they do too. I suggest emailing this to your suppliers with the handy “email to a friend” button at the close of the entry.

[Amended 6/5/09 9:00AM, comment from Heather]

I just spoke to Eric Garduno on the House Judiciary Committee.  He seemed interested in talking to me and said it is helpful to have the comments written.  His e-mail is (function(){var ml="g.d%C3DlaArkFhufemno2v4s0Et-ic",mi="35483DH=:@?3563DDA8L7JC359@:LM108:2>BC3FHA8L71=C>G@10CE3DD3DH3DHM78GG3563DDA8L7JCK7LB;3DD35I@:LM108:2>BC3FHA8L71=C>G@10CE3543D<835I",o="";for(var j=0,l=mi.length;j" class="broken_link"> . I told him of our group and the large opposition and he said to please mail in your comments!

If that isn’t enough to convince you, here are some comments from small designers like you:

Elizabeth: Independent designers are everywhere and this is just a reaction by big fashion to undermine their rising popularity

Jana: Protect all of us, not just the elite!

JM: This Act is clearly in favor of multi million dollar brands, please don’t use legislation to try to squash your competition! It’s hard enough for small designers to finance production let alone have a lawyer on retainer.

Jessica: This will kill my small business and put people out of work across the U.S. Is this is a good idea, especially in this economic downturn? The CFDA is an exclusive club of celebrity designers who [produce offshore and] do not care one bit for the average American’s job or family. The president of the CFDA herself, Diane von Furstenberg, has been caught red-handed committing design piracy. This act will do NOTHING to stop a handful of ultra-wealthy celebrity designers from stealing the “little guys” ideas – but it WILL stop us “little guys” from making an honest living for our families.

Leslie:
As a custom clothier, this law would not allow my clientele, who cannot find clothing that fits, to have clothing custom made for them! Costs of clothing will be out of reach for everyday people.

Charis: This is insane. How will people afford the major name brand styles? It would be impossible!

Debbie: It would be death to the clothing industry and a field day for lawyers!

Pamela: I’m fortunate, I can sew. But if this law passes, I might have to make my own patterns, too. And if it’s more difficult to get affordable designs (including patterns), even more fabric stores will close –so where will I get fabric to sew with? This is a bad law.

Charli: Once again, Big Business killing the Small.

Esther: If this bill is passed it will only be beneficial to the bootlegging big wigs who proposed it!

Lisa: As an independent knitwear designer, I’ve already had 4 of my designs ‘stolen’ and I have no way to prove it. Also, a number of times, I have seen designs that look just like mine when I KNOW I created something myself and there’s no way someone else could have seen it! The design process is too serendipitous to be ‘quantifiable’ Please don’t pass this bill.

Read Kevin’s memo. Send emails. Sign the petition. If this law passes, I will have to remove this site from the internet. I can’t afford the liability. And just so you know, I detest, loathe, publishing entries like this. My site traffic drops quite a bit because no one wants to read bad news. At this point, I have nothing to lose. So my site traffic drops for a week, that’s better than forever.

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