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The Tragic Comedy

Kanika Bhatia

In this issue, renowned fashion critic and entrepreneur Kanika Bhatia takes on the topic of originality. A lot of us might be ageing in experience but we still refuse to admit that ‘smart copying’ is plagiarism nevertheless, she writes.

They say there is no originality in tyrants and designers of today. True, but how bad is the situation really?
Counterfeiting products being the order of the day, it’s only a matter of time when all we are competing on is price, perfect marketplace of original economics after all. Imitation might be the highest form of appreciation but I hate to window shop on a good day, playing the ‘who copied it best’ game. For years, the thumb rule involved, breakthrough fashion created by designers, copied badly here and there by smaller vendors, and everyone gets a piece of the cake. Current scenario, however, has limited originality to a relatively smaller percentage of designers, considering every third person in metropolitans is a ‘designer’ of sort and exclusivity waving back at us as it moves down the drain.

When I started Anome, the lack of confidence in design process did lead me to take ‘inspiration’ from Pinterest (Mecca of counterfeiting) for a couple of pieces in my collection. Having graduated in the process, mind and creativity after my first collection, I have gladly reached the sweet spot of originality. Now, I can safely sit in my corner, sip that coffee and judge away the world, as I take the higher path. However, a lot of us might be ageing in experience but we still refuse to admit that ‘smart copying’ is plagiarism nevertheless.
I would personally like to thank social media accounts like DietBySabya for calling out on such dirty jobs of bona fide fashion being ruined by the biggest of names in the industry. If nothing, at least it’s kept some of them on a tight leash and oh boy, do we enjoy the show!

With apparel being the easy target, shoe industry seems to blame it on limited surface area to experiment. Especially in the case of men’s wear, it becomes a battle of quality over design considering there is only so much you can do in so little an area. Well, here we sadly agree. However, there is always the technology, raw material and marketing you can fight for. As a part of both the industries, and having looked at them very closely, I understand how it’s impossible to not look at your work like a colleague, as someone who is agreeable and decides to collaborate on some days but unyielding like a grouchy toddler on some. Those days are the ones you yield to these measures, but the idea should be to keep tapping that creativity till you get it right.

With the obstinacy of a rottweiler, we have refused to address this issue in the open, simply because everyone does it, and that makes it okay. However, it’s time to hold the thin edge of the wedge. We need a mix solution of slow fashion, marking the guilty and a conscious effort by patrons to call this one out. Till then, let me leave you with a flip thought- Do you think designers are forced to do this to feed the discount hungry market that refuses to acknowledge creativity with a purchase and only seeks out the cheapest price for the best in the market?