There’s no copyright protection in the fashion world Johanna Blakely states in her TED Talk, Lessons from Fashion’s Free Culture. Today, it is one of the strongest, most vibrant, and exciting industries. Blakely thinks other industries should start taking notes from the dynamic copyright-free culture of fashion. If they did, she argues, they will not only become more creative, but more productive.
“Who owns a look?” Blakely asks us. While she admits that a team of lawyers, litigators, and bureaucrats might be able to figure out a portion of this question, she concludes that they’d never get close to finding the answer. The reality is, no one owns a look or a trend. This happens because designers and manufactures can’t copyright clothing since it’s too utilitarian. If one corporation owned the v-neck t-shirt or the mesh short pattern independent designers would have to spend small fortunes licensing these designs. This would bump up the costs for everyone.
The lack of copyright restrictions in the fashion world does two important things:
1. Trends are quickly spread, identified, and defined since no one owns them. This is good for fashion businesses who want to make, sell, and market relevant products.
2. Fashion designers don’t want to be static. They want to be a step ahead of the current look at ever turn. This means fashion designers have to create new and interesting designs every season in order to help define and corner the market on the next trend. In other words, they can’t afford to not innovate.
Not only does the fashion industry do good business, but it remains highly productive, energetic, and inventive.
Fashion, by the way, isn’t the only industry free from copyright restrictions. Recipes, comedy, furniture, magic tricks, and so on are able to grow and prosper outside of the copyright structure.
Creative freedom can quickly define trends and create new ones. It’s a clear example of how unbridled creativity can produce results.
Picture Credit: Migrainechick