Pakistani Designer Pays Tribute To Portuguese Illustrator’s Work Without Prior Permission
A female Pakistani fashion designer has been criticized for using a Portuguese illustrator’s illustrations as part of her new digitally printed clothing line. She claims that her collection is not an imitation, replication or inspiration but it is rather a tribute to the illustrators all over the world. However, she has been reported to have used the illustrations without seeking prior consent from the artists, one of whom has shown his disapproval over social media.
Other members of the Pakistani fashion industry have condoned using the artist’s work for commercial use without credit or royalty, but have also tried to justify that inspiration, and not imitation, to an extent is common practice in the commercial world and most people take it as a compliment rather than an insult.
Narrow definitions under copyright laws make it difficult to classify what may or may not be protected. There is only minimal ‘fashion design’ protection under trademark, logo and patent laws in the US, that may protect individual elements involved in design, even ‘fabric designs’ may be copyrightable, but ‘dress designs’ may have more protection under the laws of EU its individual member states than in the US. The debate continues whether extending copyright protection to fashion designs will hurt the fashion industry or help breed creativity and healthy competition.
Proponents of copyright laws argue that fashion designs, like any other work of art, should be protected from replication as it is not fair to take credit away from the creators and offer the same designs for lower prices. However there is a fine line between fashion design and art, as there is not much copyright protection in fashion while artwork may be copyrighted. So the Portuguese illustrator may also have a legal claim if his illustrations are registered as piece of art.
- Portuguese Illustrator has provided the same illustrations to CHANEL as well, although CHANEL has not come after the Pakistani designer.
- Similar issues have arisen between high-end brand Diane Von Furstenberg and highstreet brand Forever 21.
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