Are fashion designers undermining their own products by supporting Apple?

“In the ongoing legal wranglings between tech giants Apple and Samsung, a group of fashion industry luminaries recently weighed in on behalf of Apple. They include designers Calvin Klein, Lanvin’s former creative director Alber Elbaz, Alexander Wang, Louis Vuitton’s Nicolas Ghesquière and Sacai’s Chitose Abe,” Robin Givhan writes for The Washington Post.

“They’ve all taken Apple’s side in a lawsuit that dates back to 2012 in which the creator of the iPhone accused Samsung of copying some of the smartphone’s technical features as well as its design. Fashion folks might know very little about software and coding, but they understand the importance of aesthetics,” Givhan writes. “And so in a friend-of-the-court brief, they extol the power and importance of design. As attorney Mark Davies, the brief’s counsel of record, noted in an interview: ‘It’s the design that sells the product.'”

MacDailyNews Note: The amicus brief in full in here.

“The fashion industry has grappled mightily with the problems of knockoffs and outright counterfeiting. Although the law recognizes some unique and iconic designs, the Council of Fashion Designers of America has tried unsuccessfully to lobby Capitol Hill for legislation that would extend greater copyright protections to clothing designs… Designers have recounted how distinctive handbags, for instance, have been reproduced lickety-split at bargain basement prices, cutting into their profits and, possibly, diluting the prestige of their brand,” Givhan writes. “Over the years, in an attempt to protect their work, fashion folks have essentially been arguing aesthetics: That dress looks like my dress. The Apple brief goes further. It argues that ‘Appearance becomes identified with the underlying functional features and with a particular level of product quality…’ It’s a line of thinking that raises an uncomfortable question: Does a consumer presume that a $200 copy of a dress is the same quality as the $2,000 original? If so, one could say that while fashion may win the battle on copying, it most certainly will have lost something far more valuable, which is the integrity of its wares. ”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The issue is knockoff companies stealing the work of others and profiting from it. It’s the same idea in clothing and handbags as it is in computers and smartphones.

Punish the thieves. Just because some people want to wear a designer dress or carry a designer handbag or tote a MacBook Pro or an iPhone on the cheap does not excuse the thieves who knocked off the original items and peddle knockoffs for their own profit. Otherwise there is no impetus for world-class designers to design or world-class innovators to innovate.

And, honey, we know your handbag is a “Lewis Voitton” and your “MacBook” is really a lousy HP Windoze PeeCee. You’re not fooling anybody.

The main reason why Samsung et al. were able to sell phones and tablets at all was because they made fake iPhones and fake iPads designed to fool the unwitting (who are now finally waking up in droves, by the way, and upgrading to iPhones in ever-increasing numbers) in much the same way as how Microsoft et al. profited wildly from upside-down and backwards fake Macs at the end of the 20th century. Google, Samsung, HTC, Xiaomi, et al. are the Microsofts, HPs, Dells, and eMachines of the new century.

Apple’s products came first, then Samsung’s:

Samsung Galaxy and Galaxy Tab Trade Dress Infringement

Here’s what Google’s Android looked like before and after Apple’s iPhone:

Google Android before and after Apple iPhone

And, here’s what cellphones looked like before and after Apple’s iPhone:

cellphones before and after Apple iPhone

People who buy Android phones and tablets reward thieves.

Dieter Rams, Norman Foster, and 100+ of the world’s top designers side with Apple in Samsung patent case – August 4, 2016
Apple to U.S. Supreme Court: Samsung stole our patents, should end its appeals and finally pay up – August 1, 2016
U.S. Supreme Court to hear Samsung’s appeal of Apple design patent case on October 11th – July 14, 2016
U.S. DOJ asks Supreme Court to overturn ruling that favored Apple over Samsung’s iPhone copying – June 9, 2016
Apple suggests Federal Circuit panel violated U.S. Constitution in patent fight with Samsung – March 30, 2016
Supreme Court to hear Samsung appeal in Apple patent case – March 21, 2016

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. There are so many people that mock this concept. I find it hard to believe that people will buy knockoffs. It’s a slap in the face of original creators. I will NEVER buy a Samsung phone.

    Be inspired by great design. Leverage it to make your own great design. But don’t copy to fool buyers into thinking they are getting something they aren’t, and in the process cheating the original creator/developer out their just reward.

  2. I had a friend complaining to me the other day that his fancy Samsung wouldn’t talk to his car properly and was considering getting an iPhone. I told him he should, mine worked great, and that the Samsung was just a copy of the iPhone. He said “if it’s a copy, why doens’t it work as well?”. Really. Looks and shiny icons DO convince people it works the same.

  3. The writer’s argument makes no sense. In the original article, she continues:

    …”Designers, after all, have always noted that part of the high cost of their work is due to the luxurious hand of the fabric, the clarity and stability of the colors, the skill of artisans whose knowledge has been passed down through generations and the magical voodoo in the fit. It might be enraging to have a fast fashion merchant whip up a look-a-like copy of a runway garment, but at least the runway version could be proudly billed as offering more than just a bedazzled bodice. The friend-of-the-court brief casts a shadow of doubt over that assertion.”

    In other words, the average consumer knows exactly the difference between the original and the knock-off, and will gladly buy the knock-off, even though its colours may fade, run or bleed, or its fabric fray. There is no scenario in which this situation benefits the original designer. If the support of Apple helps Apple prevail (which it should), and this brings about some major tectonic changes in the way American jurisprudence looks at original design, fashion houses and designers can only benefit from the disappearance (or at least, significant reduction) of the vast knock-off marketplace of today. While most ordinary consumers still won’t be buying those $2,000 Louis Vuitton handbags, there will likely be some who can afford them, but were heretofore purchasing the knockoffs, since they were “good enough”.

    Same with Samsung and iPhones.

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