Lifestyle Magazine

Design Theft and Your Wedding – Why It’s Really Not on

By Claire

Hello lovely read­ers! Recently I’ve been get­ting a lot of requests along the lines of “I’ve found my dream dress but it’s way out of my budget…could you make me one sim­i­lar?”. I under­stand that wed­dings are really (some­times stu­pidly) expen­sive and every cou­ple should look at ways they can make sav­ings, but I have to tell you this is not the way to do it. There are a num­ber of rea­sons why.

It is against the law

I can’t really explain it any bet­ter than that state­ment there. Every designer who designs a gown has copy­right pro­tec­tion on that design. I have copy­right pro­tec­tion on my designs, if some­one copies my design I have every right to sue them and vice versa. Sure copy­right law is a very murky area, but would you really want to risk it? I wouldn’t, and I hope that most rep­utable dress design­ers out there wouldn’t either.

Cheaper, really??

The sec­ond point to con­sider is that gowns are usu­ally priced what they are for a rea­son. If you come to me with a design of a dress that is heav­ily embroi­dered, beaded or uses unusual fab­rics, even if I wanted to, I prob­a­bly couldn’t make it for less than the orig­i­nal gown’s price. Add on to the fact that my gowns are made to mea­sure, which means I cre­ate a whole new pat­tern for each client (which is all done by me, in my stu­dio), it’s a just not do-able.

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Real designer?

Lastly, which is the point that is most per­sonal to me, is that I’m a designer. I don’t want to copy some­one else’s design, I want to cre­ate my own. Copy­ing some­one else’s design is lazy and unin­spired, and really it’s not actu­ally being a designer at all. I would be supremely dis­ap­pointed if I flicked through a mag­a­zine, or surfed a blog and found a bride wear­ing one of my designs that wasn’t made by me. It’s such a gut-wrenching feel­ing. Design­ers work hard to cre­ate beau­ti­ful, orig­i­nal, breath-taking designs. It’s not just a case of draw­ing a sketch, you have to work out which fab­rics will work with the struc­ture of the dress, (some­times this involves trial and error) what inter­nal struc­ture the dress will have. How to give max­i­mum sup­port with­out com­pro­mis­ing on the design, what fas­ten­ings to use, usabil­ity, and hun­dreds of other things. It’s a lot of work, and usu­ally along the way they get attached to the design. All my dresses are like my babies, they are my cre­ations. If you copy their design you are steal­ing their thunder.

So back to “I’ve found my dream dress but it’s out of my bud­get…”. There are a num­ber of other ways you could try to still get that dream dress.

Sam­ple sales

Almost all design­ers have them (I don’t, but bespoke doesn’t really work that way!), and don’t just look at your local bridal shop. If this is your dream dress (the one, amaz­ing, per­fect, the one you can’t live with­out etc) then con­sider the fact that you may need to travel a lit­tle fur­ther afield. If you can find it within your bud­get else­where isn’t it worth trav­el­ling a lit­tle further?

Sec­ond hand

I realize that most peo­ple won’t like this option, but really it’s not such a bad idea. Wed­ding dresses are worn once, just once! With a good dry clean you prob­a­bly won’t even know. Brides are lov­ing the buy vin­tage idea and really it’s exactly the same, the dress has been worn before, and you are even being green by recycling!

Nego­ti­ate

This last point really depends on who the dress is by and whether it is a cus­tom made design or mass man­u­fac­tured. If the dress is made espe­cially for you then it might be worth ask­ing the designer direct if there is any way to cut down on the cost. This could be by min­imis­ing embell­ish­ment details, short­en­ing trains or pos­si­bly using a cheaper fabric.

If none of the above work for you, it may be time to re-evaluate your dress needs/wants. Do you need that dress to make your wed­ding day? Isn’t it all meant to be about the love any­way? Is there some­thing sim­pler that would do just fine?

If the dress is some­thing you can’t live with­out, per­haps con­sider cut­ting the bud­get in other areas of your wed­ding, or con­sider cut­ting out some­thing alto­gether. It is your wed­ding day and ulti­mately it is up to how you choose to plan it, but please, don’t stomp on the designer in your rush to the altar.

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My huge thanks to Char­lotte from Char­lotte Bridal for shar­ing her thoughts — I com­pletely agree, and it’s great to see this argu­ment explained so well. I’d love to hear your sto­ries and thoughts about copy­right in our indus­try as well: has design theft affected you?

 www.charlottebridal.co.uk
Char­lotte Gar­ratt is the owner and designer at Char­lotte Bridal. Offer­ing a start-to-finish per­son­alised ser­vice for brides, she cre­ates one of a kind gowns for inspired brides.


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