Monday 29 July 2019

THIS IS appropriation...

Somebody emailed me last night to warn me one of my garments had been appropriated and was for sale on a Chinese website -

The picture of my jacket they are featuring in their website promotion has been lifted directly from one of my blog posts on December 18th last year. It has been altered in their version by elongating the picture from the original hip length to thigh length.

I haven't sold this jacket so I took a picture of it this morning to show you. The cover page of todays Sydney Morning Herald is stuck behind it....incidentally with a front page news item about Chinese involvement in gambling fraud...

December 18th blog post  - the picture used by Tusancat is the one in this blog post, elongated somewhat. Amusingly they are also offering it in 5 more colour versions which have been achieved by changing the colour balance in Photoshop.

This is a screenshot of the ripped off version by "Tusancat" currently being advertised on instagram....available for a mere US$42.

I've already heard from one lady who checked out this garment when it came up on her instagram feed, thinking it was so beautiful she might buy it.

Regrettably if she had bought it I can guarantee she would have been disappointed -  possibly even horrified at the cheap and nasty reproduction she'd paid for. 

The jacket I made was an upcycle, existing second hand item bought from Vinnies for $6. I covered the surface with appliques cut from my hand prints, patchwork and applied lots of elaborate stitching. The whole process to transform it took about 18 hours. The rip-off version you would receive from Tusancat will be a photographic reproduction of the surface, not the textured, patched and hand printed garment shown in the picture.

I tried to take some photos this morning which better show the surface of my original.


I'm also aware that one of my PDF patterns, the "Pheenie" dress is being manufactured at scale and sold by a Chinese clothing manufacturer. That doesn't particularly bother me as after 35 years in the clothing and textile world I'm well aware there is no legal protection to be enforced that could stop it. 

In truth I feel pretty blase about both my pattern and original item of art to wear clothing being expropriated, rather than angry or emotional. My first experience of having a print and clothing design stolen and reproduced was 30 years ago, when I walked into a shop to be surrounded by 200 dresses reproduced exactly from my original garment but in 5 different sizes. Ironically the copier claimed she thought the dress she copied was a no-name brand from Asia.

I'm not the only designer or textile artist being appropriated in this way currently. In fact, in a sardonic way I feel humbled to join the company of many famous and way more well known clothing brands. These advertisements started appearing on instagram about 3 months ago. Direct rip-offs from Magnolia Pearl and fellow Australian textile artist India Flint along with many, many more designers than that....dozens. I'm choosing not to name more than these 2 here. In all cases the copyists use the original pictures from the designer, which is another level of copyright violation on top of what they already do. Chinese businesses like Tusancat, Barbring, Cocochic + + + who are doing this obviously won't be drawing the line at exploiting the sewing businesses who do their manufacturing.

And that is what shits me the most about what these people are doing. The reality is they won't be affecting my income much as I only make and sell one-of-a-kind garments and aren't a "manufacturer" of any level. I work alone and don't have a single outworker. 

What super, super massively pisses me off is that these business operators are stealing my original concepts and totally subverting everything I try to stand for. Most of my work is made from upcycled used garments and discarded fabrics because I'm not supporting the polluting industry that keeps on churning out gazillions of metres of fabric and fast fashion disposable clothes every day. A wasteful, ignorant and arrogant industry that carelessly uses up resources and pollutes our shared environment for the financial enrichment of a small number of business owners, who aren't the ones doing the actual work of design or production. The ethical and moral vacuity which allows them to feel entitled to appropriate the visions and productions of genuine creatives extends to exploiting the labours of the women who work in third world clothing manufacturing. 

I'm appalled to have my work taken in this way to do all these things I actively work against -

1)  sweat shop working conditions  - low wages, long working hours
2)  lions share of the profits going to enrich a small number of business owners
3)  mass manufacturing that uses up lots of resources (clean water, soil nutrients, pollution from needlessly transporting stuff out of local zones and all around the planet....)
4)  mass manufacturing practices of the fashion industry create lots of wastage by over production
5)  the polluting side effects from the chemicals used in textile manufacturing and printing

Please help to stop these companies from making their exploitation profitable by not buying any of their product and letting everybody you know on all social media channels the immoral and fraudulent basis of how they operate.

Here are some simple suggestions if you want to wear clothing that minimises the harm done to others and our shared environment

DON'T BUY CHEAP SHIT MASS MANUFACTURED CLOTHING  (especially if made in 3rd world countries)

 Lastly...I haven't sold this beautiful hand made jacket and are only asking a measly Aus$225 plus postage for it. PM me if you want to know the measurements. I accept payment by Paypal only.

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