Exploring themes from last week’s entry on the proposed design piracy law, do you think copying is ever permissible? I don’t mean that in a legal sense but an ethical one. I don’t intend to be judgmental but I tend to frown on it. However, Grace poses the question in such light I wonder if I’m a hypocrite. She asked me if I thought this was homage or plagiarism:
Stylish leather is as much a part of the rock ‘n’ roll image as groupies and smoke-filled tour buses. And these days, nobody is doing it better than South Paradiso, the hippie glam, art leather label following in the grand tradition of such music world haberdashers as Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors, Granny Takes a Trip and East West Musical Instruments Co. South Paradiso is less aggressive and more fantastical, paying homage to the colorful Bay Area art-to-wear movement of the 1960s and ’70s and L.A.’s folksy canyon culture, which after all these years still influences style here, particularly when the weather starts to turn hot.
As a refresher, I wrote about East West before in Pattern puzzle: Parrot Jacket (part two), go look, both entries have great photos. Oh what the heck, I’ll rerun one above (larger image). [Photo courtesy of Goodbye Heart. More great styles are on their site.] The styling is definitely unique.
My first response is why couldn’t South Paradiso be both homage and plagiarism? If it is plagiarism, does that necessarily mean it is unethical considering the age of the original East West Musical Company styles? Is it homage if you;re open about it and readily credit the creator? Some of these jackets are nearly forty years old. At which age is it acceptable to copy something? Or is it at all?
Lacking the reasons to articulate it, I think it is okay to reintroduce these styles but then I kind of, sort of, have a vested interest. By interest, I don’t work for anybody making these but I would if the opportunity presented itself. I’ve thought of producing styles with the same themes, nowhere near exact copies. Riffing -not ripping- off the genre I suppose. I don’t like the painted or appliqued styles. I prefer designs with insets exclusively, a larger test of skill (sample I made). These are a lot of fun to make too. OT: Do you think patterns like these would sell?
East West is long defunct; the original designs aren’t readily available for purchase and ones that are, aren’t in the best shape. Even former employees say the jackets weren’t the best fitting and many were unlined. The designs were exemplary but the execution was not. I’m not suggesting that poor execution is a justifiable reason to knock someone off but poor execution as compared to the quality of design is usually the reason it happens.
So, am I a hypocrite? Is copying ever ethical and how big of a karmic crime is it?