Fashion Tips From Chuck Schumer


China-baiter Chuck Schumer understands the real danger Red China poses to our fragile republic: fake Kate Spade bags. And–surprise!–he has come up with a solution:

Designers Nicole Miller and Narciso Rodriguez joined Sen. Charles Schumer and others on Wednesday, pressing for a law to battle cheap fashion imitations, saying their works should be protected by copyright laws just like any other creative art.

"Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it's bad for our fashion industry here in New York," said Schumer, D-N.Y., one of the sponsors of the Design Piracy Prohibition Act, introduced in the U.S. Senate on Aug. 2.

Over at The New Republic, UCLA law professor Kal Raustiala patiently explains, once again, why that Forever 21 version of the Vera Wang original is a good thing:

The answer lies in something that we all know instinctively about fashion. As Shakespeare put it in Much Ado About Nothing, "The fashion wears out more apparel than the man." That is, people don't buy new clothes because they need them–they buy them to keep up with the latest style.

The fashion industry responds to our desires by churning out new designs at a rapid clip. But fashion designers don't maroon themselves on a desert island to create their work. Designers pay close attention to the work of their peers, and they love to mine the past for ideas. When they see something that they like, they copy it–or, in the argot of the industry, they "reference" it…

The result is the fashion industry's most sacred concept: the trend. Copying makes trends, and trends are what sell fashion.

I covered similar ground back in 2005, when Schumer was complaining about the same.