Brave and awesome designer Tuesday Bassen is currently battling Zara, backed by fellow makers and artists. Zara stole her designs, then told her she wasn’t famous enough to do anything about it. Her story made it beyond the usual social media coverage, and the wave of engagement is encouraging, especially Adam JK's initiative Shop The Stolen Art. Have you regrammed this David vs. Goliath tale and bought the original pins instead? Good for you. Now move onto the next stretch goal to changing the world. Here are some pointers:
TELL YOUR NON-CREATIVE FRIENDS
Yes, it is wonderful to have an independent creative community around us that appreciates a well-whittled spoon, but you’re preaching to the choir. Let’s make sure the rest of the world gets it too. Sure, people know high-street shops are the devil incarnate – child labour, pollution, copyright infringement – but those are big problems that are hard to grapple with on a personal level. So, make it personal. Explain to them what would happen to you – their daughter, friend, brother, the subject of their ‘Oh my gawd you’re so creative you should totally sell your stuff people would buy it you know.’ Tell them how it would affect you if your design got stolen and ended up on a shitty T-shirt that wouldn’t last the season, with no cash or credit coming your way. Make them think of you and your plight next time they shop.
BE THE SUPPLY NOT THE DEMAND
Within a big, evil behemoth like Zara, there are many, many creatives – people like us, with feels and everything – who just want to make nice clothes. But they don’t have our luxury of time and freedom to come up with their own ideas. Instead, they are pushed to churn out design after design to keep racks stocked with new must haves guaranteed to make the company money. How many great ideas can you come up with in a year, a month, a week, a day? Me, probably about two. Yet we constantly yearn for the next new thing, trend, viral. We put the ‘demand’ in ‘supply and demand’, but leave the ‘supply’ to others – no wonder the balance is off.
DON’T BE SO DARN TRENDY
The Internet with all its likes and follows hands design departments their new collections on a silver platter. From indie pin designers to vintage vixens, fashion editors, models-at-leisure and thrifty bloggers: no matter how original you are, it can be heartlessly reproduced within a week. That obscure band T-shirt you found in your dad’s wardrobe and now graces your profile pic? Those unflattering dungarees you bought for a dollar at a charity shop years ago but haven’t taken off all summer? That quirky lapel pin from Etsy you blogged about? All liked, commented on, regrammed, pinned and featured in style sections. And now: all for sale, brand-spanking new and totally soulless, ready to be added to landfill in a few months when the trend has passed.
And we’re all to blame. With our style blogs, what-I-wore-todays, stacks of magazines, our wardrobe, our mirror… Our desire to wear things.
Let’s think more.
Let’s want less.
Let’s get naked.