Sunday, May 25, 2008

Similarities VS. Copying

I have been designing floral accessories since the beginning of 2000. It was mainly for myself and a few friends and clients at the time. In all honestly, I had a blip on the map around 2002-4 (when I was in Magazines and got write ups...the interview with W Magazine for my flowers and ankle corsages) and then I admit I dropped the ball and my designing fell to the wayside as more of a part time business. Then in 2005 I began making more jewelry and trying to branch away from the flowers to something "more sophisticated" again. Plus, I was having clients from my day job request items I was Sometimes they would want to even buy the jewelry right off me! However, no matter how much I tried to get away from flowers Customers always brought me back! I would get calls and requests or run in to people from years ago telling me how they wore their flowers to death that they bought from me LONG ago. Grant you, there was barely a day that went by that I did NOT wear flowers to was sorta my signature and Customers ALWAYS referred to me as "the Girl with the flowers in her hair." LOL! At least there was no mistaking me for someone else! For the last 5 years friends kept telling me that I NEEDED to get in to the Bridal arena and that I would do REALLY WELL there and that I there is a void in HIGH QUALITY pieces available. Meaning there really are a handful of keepers and A LOT of cheap looking stuff. So here I am wading in the pool of the Bridal industry. This brings me to a subject that has recently been floating around...copying and knocking off. Seriously, as I personally have said here as well as on other blogs about this (weather it was about artwork, music, cetera) It has ALL BEEN DONE BEFORE and there REALLY is not much that is "TOTALLY NEW" I mean, sure, to me or to you...BUT RARELY something that HAS NEVER BEEN DONE. We can pick ANY DESIGNER and choose an outfit...and go back in history to find the elements that were pulled for making this. This was actually an assignment I had years ago in a Fashion class. It was really interesting how every day clothes have their unique history. Anyway, I just realized, JUST HOW MUCH CAN YOU DO IN WHITE AND IVORY?! lol Plus, if you use several of the same elements there is going to be a time where something MIGHT LOOK SIMILAR and there doesn't have to be INTENTION for's bound to happen. Then there is always what I was originally talking about, blatant copying. Without naming names I am about to give you a few examples that I have seen and find VERY DISTURBING. Let me preface this by stating that I have been a vendor on Etsy since November 2006. I am always watching whats going on within my little pool of jewelry and accessories. Since the beginning of this year I started to see a trend of knocking off that really bothered me personally as a designer. I realize that I go to great lengths to produce high quality unique items that I take A LOT of time and effort to create. I assume a few of my peers do the same. When I began to see what I felt as blatant copying it REALLY upset me. Then of course when I became victim of it it made this even MORE personal! But I am not talking about me. For example, Starry Designs. I LOVE here little bird nest necklaces. I noticed them AGES ago, now I have no idea if she started this or not and am not claiming she did, I am just saying I noticed them because they are SO CUTE and then I noticed more recently that I see this EXACT design everywhere! (and they are NOT hers)

Photograph courtest of Starry Design Jewelry
Starry Designs Bird Nest Jewelry.

Another observation I noticed was this:
Here are some examples of a designer that I know started posting in February 2007.

and here is something by another designer AFTER hers came out:

This person didn't even post until January 2008...and I remember when I first saw their items...this person was predominately making other non hair items in the beginning.
Here is the originator(in my opinion started Feb. 2007)

And here is something by another designer:

This shop opened in February 2008.
Like I said before I am not naming names but if you were to look through these particular desigers shops...YOU would SEE what I have observed.
Now, YOU CANNOT tell me you don't see the similarities being REALLY OBVIOUS?!
It's not like when I see a random silk flower with Swarovski crystals because I get that you can find those ANYWHERE! (Not generally as nice as mine but commonplace) I think these are pretty obvious of what I personally FEEL that are good examples of copying. I HAVE NO PROOF AND AM NOT STATING THAT THEY ARE, this is simply an observation that I have made since this has been a recent subject at hand.
Plus, it is in my personal opinion that there are very specific elements in these examples that are pretty signature of who I believe is the originator of the designs...key things that MAKE IT THAT designers LOOK and STYLE. I didn't want to call anyone out which is why I specifically DID NOT use names or photos with faces. I merely wanted to show examples.

This was another:

Within a few days of MY posting this I saw this one:

There was nothing previously in this shop with THIS shape until mine came out. This designer makes lovely items and I am flattered that I obviously inspired this for her...I mean, really...though.

I won't bore you all with my BE issues of copying...but this has just been bothering me SO much I had to write about it.

I understand that this is what happens to MORE PEOPLE THEN WE WANT TO ADMIT to it happening to but it still STINKS! This was a VERY casual post and is merely expressing my personal FEELINGS on the matter. To all the designers involved I wish only the best and to please ask that you try to develop your OWN PERSONAL STYLE and FLAIR so as not to have to be thought of as "...Oh, this looks like a" I mean, I see that you are talented and that there is no need for you to have to make items that LOOK so close to another designers work. Branch off and create for yourself your individual flair! There's enough customers out there to keep US ALL HAPPY and VERY BUSY!

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Curious D said...

Hey! I'm going to have to say that it's very upsetting to me that you've listed my work as something which is potentially infringement of any other artist's work.

Now I'm not going to demand that you take my work down or anything like that sort, in fact quite the contrary. I'm mostly upset because as an artist I really value the work and effort put into a piece, and I want to be a craftsperson with integrity for my own business and art, as well as one who carries a great respect for the work of other artists in the field. (Awful run-on sentence!) It hurts for another artist to say that any designs have been copied because I really do respect the community and I have had artwork stolen and experienced copyright infringement personally.

I think you bring up a very relevant topic and I am sorry that I have been construed as someone who might have possibly copied another's work. But I think I should also bring up another perspective on the matter you've discussed.

From a business perspective, original creations tend to inspire trends and are the driving economic force in so many fields, including fashion, millinery, jewelry design, &c. I think 3/4 of the Etsy market has some piece of art with a shilhouette of a Bird on a Branch. The work is out in public domain and similar works are produced because someone says "wow, I really like the look of that particular material on the other, maybe I should try it for myself, maybe come up with something new. " That is a trend, which are constantly evaluated and even brought up on Etsy. Now of course, there's a line between infringement and inspriation, or a trend. But I will also argue that such an open market is not the cause of a decline and stagnation, but generally works to promote innovation and the creation of new products. And this is just a statement to consider.

My own personal case, I had seen the other artist's work around and thought the guinea feathers (or whatever) looked amazing, so I decided to experiment with them. But that has since been a springboard from which some really neat and unique creations have been born.

It is and was NEVER my intention to COPY another artist for profit or any other reason. To me, that is really repugnant. And if any artist believes I may be overstepping any boundaries, I welcome them with an open heart and an open mind! Please! Do not hesitate to contact me.. If I have ever made anyone feel I am overstepping the line, I would very gladly discuss it with them, and even, should it be deemed warranted, I would remove the piece in question.

I work daily to accomplish the very best I can, and if I've found I'm doing something wrong, when I know better, I will work to do better.

Thank you so much for bringing this up though, and thank you to the people who have brought this to my attention. You have my humble appreciation.

Leah from Smitten

pink said...

nice blog... plz add me in ur blog roll... i have added u in my blog roll ....

ny.grrl said...

Similarities OR Copying ...



Similar technique and material.
myrakim's signature materials: dupioni, organza, silk fabrics.

QG Nguyen said...

I just had someone wrote to my Etsy shop and said that I copied you. Which took me to your shop and to this blog. Here's what she wrote to me

by sunkissedcali profile shop contact
Your stuff is like a total knock-off of Muscari, and Mikiye pieces. When I buy from them, please don't copy what I have them make.

Although, I am new on Esty but I've been selling my items on line at another site.
I admired your work and felt that our lines are completely different. Don't know what make this person attacking me like this.

V~Love said...

Two artists that have been accused of copying and the accuser has yet to respond? Things that make you go hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!

V~Love said...

Attention GG Nguyen: of course someone sent you a note on Etsy. Isn't obvious who sent you that message?

This is so high school. I think I shall report you all to the principal. Detention for a-l-l!

Mikiye Creations said...

ny.grrl: Obviously I do not know who you are and I am guessing you are trying to give examples of copying?
Apparently you did not completely read my blog or fully didn't understand what I was stating.
Also, if you are going to make assumptions, please use better examples next time.
Another thing, Just look ALL OVER the internet and most wedding flower items are going to be made with Silk, Dupioni, and Organza.
Those are UNIVERSAL materials in this field.
Thank You for the thoughtful comments though.

Mikiye Creations said...

qg nguyen: I do not know who sunkissedcali is nor do I have control over what other people do or say. MY apologies as this obviously had upset you and even though I have nothing to do with this other then someone has used my name I still never like to hear that someone feels bad.
What it gets down to is that I guess People will think what they want to and we can't have control over them. All we can do as designers is continue to make quality pieces and the customers will come. I have no time for childish games as I am sure you are far too busy too.
I wish you well.

Anonymous said...

*GASP!* I have been looking for the PERFECT facinator and have just purchased 2 crappy little things from eBay. If only I found your Etsy shop sooner!! :(

P.S. Don't worry about the copying issue, I think originality is so hard to come by nowadays - unfortunately...

Mikiye Creations said...

Come visit anytime!!!!

elponk said...

Your work is one of a kind because you have thought about arrangement and the details of the pieces. I see how upsetting it can be. I have seen some similarities of my work in other peoples, but I always feel that my personal connection to the work makes it better and it makes me want to work on expanding my ideas..but yeah, it sucks. I don't know what I would do if it was completely the same..

Michelle *Micki* said...

I think that this entire argument is rather silly. I can see that your products are superior in terms of quality. That's all that matters.

But I am going to do you one better....I have a comb that I bought from Toni Federici.

It is also similar as your product.

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