Trenchcoat Design Contest

cotonniersHere’s a perfect project for you if you have some time -July is either feast or famine around here- a trench coat design contest from Comptoir des Cotonniers, the French retail chain. From the site:

…Comptoir invites all women to reinvent the Comptoir des Cotonniers trench coat. A customization challenge, in which imagination is key to this competition focused on creativity and originality takes centre stage, giving women the chance to freely express their personality!

Create your dream trench coat, bring your ideas to life, give free rein to your desires, and send us your craziest, most playful, off-beat, daring and ingenious drawings! A jury made up of fashion journalists and designers will choose their favourite trench coat.

The lucky winner will be offered a gift voucher worth 1000€ (or 1250 $, 850 £, 4600 AED, 1400 CHF) to spend in their Comptoir des Cotonniers store.

The caveat for many of us is that Comptoir doesn’t sell online. Most of their stores are in Paris but there are three in NY. If interested, see the rules (pdf) and download the application (ditto). Applications must be received –by snail mail– before September 6th 2010.

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  1. Clara Rico says:

    I think someone should do an Inspector Gadget coat with all kinds of gadgets and doodads hidden behind regular trench coat flaps and pockets.

    They do want creativity and playfulness….

  2. Naomi R. says:

    I checked out the rules… the problem is, anything you submit to the contest becomes the company’s property, and you don’t have to receive any compensation if they decide to produce your design. v_v

  3. Kathleen says:

    Jenny, pretty amazing eh? It’s France, you’d get sued here.

    Naomi: I know it seems like a rub but it comes with the territory and there really is no other way around it. For one thing, it’s possible winners will include attributes in their designs that one would have in theirs but they can only give credit to the one rather than the many. Likewise, it is possible that the company already had designs in product development that included given style attributes already.

    The company can’t win either way. Either they’re criticized for not encouraging new talent or the rules don’t ply equal advantage so they’re criticized for that. The only thing I’ve learned from design contests is that I will never host one. If one is damned if they do and damned if they don’t, I’d rather save myself the hassle and expense of organizing and judging an event that will be used to criticize me particularly when I can get criticism at no cost to myself.

    Either you take a chance and hope it leads somewhere or you let it go. In the end, it boils down to execution. It doesn’t matter if a design is the greatest one in the world, no one is ever going to know if you can’t execute it. So, I think people should just do it themselves and then one doesn’t have to worry about any injustices.

  4. Pierced Rivet Head says:

    I don’t see a problem with a new designer participating in a contest like this. It’s basically a one-off design modification, and doesn’t need to be related to anything else that the designer might otherwise be doing in a collection. Yeah, they (Comptoir des Cotonniers) own the design, but I’m assuming that someone would be smart enough not to submit a design that they were already seriously working out for their own collection.

    But the ‘women only’ part kinda rubs me the wrong way. Then again, since the prize is a store voucher, what benefit would a male designer really see? They don’t do menswear, so it would be tacitly encouraging a designer to re-sell their designs (which might negate the publicity value).

  5. Marie-Christine says:

    Yep, that’s France all right. No discrimination illegal whatsoever. They can (and do) tell you to your face that they want women (for the low wages), or don’t want Arabs. Whee! They call it freedom.

    As to handing over rights to your design, that’s also the way most French textile companies work, and none of them see anything wrong with it. La Droguerie has their staff design all kinds of knitting/sewing/jewelry (on their own unpaid time) and sells the patterns in their fabulously expensive shops without ever giving any credit. Marie-Claire Idée is a magazine that mostly also publishes reader designs , but at least they do give credit. Can’t blame anyone for taking advantage of reader vanity though, can we?

    PS: I’m not endorsing any of the above practices, just describing..

  6. Kathleen says:

    Link was fine. It is more likely it was taken down. To enter, they must receive your application by the 6th by snail mail. It’d be hard to meet that deadline at this late date unless you lived in Paris.

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