Something recently brought this topic to my attention, and I realized just how passionate I was about it! Let me preface this by saying I like high fashion and the art that goes behind it. I am one of those people that sees designs as living art and I appreciate the talent and creativity involved. The best part is seeing a designer jump out of his comfort zone to create something unique and different. That's true art in the fashion world. I know there's a Devil Wears Prada quote that would fit this theme nicely. :)
If you love Manolos, but don't know much about the history, I would really spend the time Googling it (I'll spare you the history here). Manolo Blahnik was an artist before he created shoes, but it was his shoe art that started him down a path of being known as a true shoe designer and artist. I have complete respect for that. If you truly understand the art behind the shoe, you can respect that the designer created it as a piece of art you can wear. Our guys may not really understand the premise of this concept, but those of us women that love shoes can attest to it!
But this isn't about Manolo.
This is about the complete respect I share for those that saw a need, created a design no one else had created, and became successsful for it. One of my favorite brands is Swankie Blankie. If you haven't yet heard of them, they are a baby blanket and more company that started because a mom saw a need, created something that at the time was uniquely different, and has become successful for it. For all I know, before Susie Grant created Swankie Blankie, no other blankets out there were made using the minky chenille that we all see everywhere now from boutiques to Wal Mart. Hers is just another brand on a long list of brands that I fell in love with while at Neimans. Maybe one day I will just make a list. :)
But again, this isn't about Swankie Blankie either. Dreamscapes Baby is not affiliated in any way with the company and we do not sell their products, but perhaps someday in the future I may think about it. At the current time, they could be considered a direct competitor for my own line of custom minky blankets.
No, this is about the original and the knockoff. As a designer, I know firsthand how important it is to create something new and different. Every piece I create has to be something no one else has. Even clients that send me pictures of items they like are quickly told that we can use the picture for inspiration, but Two Crowns Bedding will not duplicate the item. It's important to me to not ripoff the designer who had the vision to create it in the first place.
Even though our custom baby blankets may look similar to what you see on the market today, the main difference is that we are the ONLY fully custom blanket creator. We aren't going to tell you what goes together, we let you decide. Want black and white zebra with orange satin ruffles? We'll make it! Want your school colors in blue and burgundy? Great! We have it! That's where we have set ourselves apart. While we don't currently offer premade blankets, we are working on creating some. As of right now, your blanket is custom made to order exactly to how you want it. You choose where your monogramming will be, what font you want it in, and what thread color. Who are we to tell you what is and is not a correct color combination? That's why we do what we do!
Again though, this is not how this post began. What started this heated topic is the fact that a business friend of mine found out she was being knocked off by two different stay at home moms starting their own business. One was knocking her designs off without the same quality, and the other was supposed to be an authorized retailer, but was selling the designs as her own. Without her images being watermarked, my friend said these two ladies used the pictures of her items from her page and was using them as their own without giving any credit to the original. That's what blows my mind. On top of that, I was recently shopping at a nearby store and I put my son's BabyLegs on since it was cold, and a lady stopped me and asked if they were BabyLegs. Why yes they are, I said! I absolutely love BabyLegs! Her response to me was this: "Well, I prefer to support the work at home mom who makes them herself." What?? And her reply was said with utmost snobbery at that. Believe me, I'm all about supporting other WAHMs and their businesses, especially when they are doing something new and interesting, but supporting people who have no creativity of their own and instead steal other people's designs is not what I'm about.
Our world is full of knockoffs. People who buy knockoff designer purses to have the "look" and the "name" without the cost are only hurting the people who originally took their time to design something beautiful. That's not admirable. And no, I'm not one that can afford the latest designer bags and clothing, but trust me, I would rather wear Target label clothing for cheap than buy a knockoff designer label. But then again, you also realize that even the cheap authentic was created because something on the runway made it a fashion statement and it trickled down into the department stores and hence, another Devil Wears Prada reference could be stated here.
So maybe you can't always have the original and authentic. Maybe our society will always allow a version of a knockoff. But don't ever forget the originals behind everything we wear and buy. They are the true artists.
And being a true artist is what I aspire to be.
Dreaming Up Originality,