How Can We Stop the Appropriation of Black Fashion Designers by Shawn Hudson [Poetic Thoughts #4]

I’m no fashion designer or expert, but, like most people, I am a consumer. I’m a huge fan of street wear and hip-hop fashion, everything from jewelr to, hoodies to jerseys, etc.  I’m interested and excited to see what the future of fashion will be, especially with all of the talent from the underground such as (B).Stroy, Vell Beck, Ev Bravado, New York State of Mind Clothing, Richie Threads, Faux Friends New York, L.Y.B.B., and many others. The possibilities of what we’ll see from Black fashion designers are endless, but as always with creativity there are always culture vultures lurking to steal whatever they can. This post will be exploring a few example of appropriation, while also giving some tips on how to prevent it from happening to you.

The first suggestion to stop appropriation within the fashion industry is for fashion designers to take photos of their work. The reason I say this is because of the fact that traditional copyright and trademarking doesn’t always seem to be foolproof against major fashion designers. Like the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.  In many cases, once a photo of the original designer’s work starts floating around the Internet, the big guys are more likely to cop a plea about what their true intentions are. Or they might just flat out lie to your face without any feeling of shame whatsoever. But my personal belief is that while culture vultures may try to steal your next masterpiece, take photos through the entire process and hold onto them just in case because appropriation is at an all-time high.

The second suggestion I have is to create extremely unique logos. Again, I know that it’s not a guarantee to work, but nothing is guaranteed in the fashion industry except that someone’s getting paid and that someone’s getting robbed. Now creating a unique logo for your brand is a fantastic strategy because the same way we can tell a knock off Gucci or Louis Vuitton because of the logo, if your work is associated with a particular logo then consumers can and will definitely be able to tell when someone is trying to rip off your artistry and steal it.

Last but not least I would suggest plastering your work online as much as possible. Now some of you might say that this will open the flood gates for your work to be stolen, but I beg to differ. You see by spreading your work to various fashion blogs, websites, chat rooms and social media platforms people will become familiar with your work, slogan, style and overall presentation. So instead of just your costumers noticing that your work is being ripped off fashionistas, bloggers and even some of your fellow designers may be quick to point out any thievery when it’s being committed. If you don’t believe me, just google Dapper Dan and Gucci and you’ll see what I mean.

Once again, I’m no fashion designer or expert I just happen to have a good friend that is getting started on her own brand in the fashion world. Also I’m sick and tired of people gentrifying our artistry and then turning around and claiming it as “homage.” We’re confined to the slums of the inner city while millions of dollars are being made off our art. Also, please be sure to make sure that you have a great legal team on standby at all times as well just in case you may have to take someone to court.




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