What is the real cost of copycats?
The gist: It’s a well-known fact that design copycats are rampant in the fashion industry (we’re looking at you H&M, Zara). This op-ed examines whether that helps move the industry forward or is an infringement on artistic ownership.
Dive deeper: I’m particularly interested in this issue because I feel like debate that’s happening here has a lot in common with the software copyrights discussion. Those who are opposed to software copyrights argue that all software builds on all other software. In this case, the points are similar — all art builds on other art.
The writers who represent the side against trademarking make a good point: design copying has been going on since the early 20th century. That said, it’s no surprise creative plagiarism is a hot button issue today. Thanks to an antiquated business model, many fast fashion companies are better equipped to produce popular designs en masse than the artists and fashion houses that originally created them.
Although these articles didn’t dive deeply into the fast fashion debate, you can’t help but wonder what else those industries harm other than the designers and their intellectual capital.
Modern fast fashion behemoths like and have built global empires by offering cheap copies of high-end fashion. But copycats are as old as the industry itself. Back in 1930, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel joined forces with rival designer Madeline Vionnet to sue copyist Suzanne Laneil, who was caught with 48 knockoffs.
Personal Shopping Services Seek Scale
The Gist: Personal shopping service PS Dept. has found it’s niche offering premium service to luxury shoppers.
Dive Deeper: We keep hearing that the “death of the luxury brand” is coming, but the luxury shopper is still alive and well. That said, she’s no longer obsessed with flashy labels and company tenure. Instead, she just likes what she likes — no matter the brand. Understanding that truth has helped PS Dept. garner a 68% customer retention rate over 18 months. Talk about killer product market fit! As the success of businesses like this and many subscription services show, luxury shoppers (and increasingly middle-class shoppers) are willing to pay for convenience and personalization. Read the article to learn more about this and other personal shopping services that also use simple, innovative messaging (or email-based!) interfaces to connect with customers.
NEW YORK, United States – In the late aughts, when Michelle Goad was a wholesale merchandiser for Marc Jacobs, she spent a significant amount of time visiting malls the world over. “I’ve been to every food court,” she jokes.
Michael Preysman on Iterating Everlane and ‘Fixing’ Fashion Retail
The Gist: Branding has been the game-maker for Everlane.
Dive Deeper: Overall, the takeaways in this article won’t be be earthshaking to a reader who already feels comfortable with concepts like branding and product development. From the beginning, they gained an advantage by clearly articulating their brand mission and using Instagram as a strong, sales-driving channel. Preysman compares Instagram to a huge department store where you are shopping with your friends — an analogy I think is entirely accurate thanks to the way Instagram now lets you shop your feed and the millions of users who are constantly making recommendations.
Although I’ve never been enamored by minimalist clothing myself, we may have something more excited to look forward to thanks to Rebekka Bay. If you’re also new to her genius, Bay is the creator of Cos and former creative director for the now-fallen Gap (back when it’s future was less dismal). I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for what she’s able to do at Everlane!
SAN FRANCISCO, United States – Michael Preysman was a 25-year-old with dual degrees in computer engineering and economics, and some experience in private equity, when he realised fashion retail was broken.