Tuesday, June 22, 2010

On Stealing...

So, this morning I checked my blogs, and found a post by Etsy's Softspoken. Apparently a crochet magazine printed a pattern for a chain necklace almost precisely like her version. Exhibit A (Softspoken for ModCloth):


Chain Scarf, by Softspoken

The magazine version:



I wasn't sure what to think. I had made a replica of her design for myself using up some scrap yarn; I am a knitter, not a crocheter, and my skills end just short of crocheting a chain. In fact, when I finished said chain, I said "these necklaces are worth every cent of $30, if not more." In fact, I don't think I'd make another one for $30.

So still, unsure about how I felt after reading that post, I check my email to find something from Madewell:



Cute, right? Well, just so happens, I bought this necklace from coo-koo-ri-koo a few months back:



One might argue that no one designer can take credit for or even "claim" yo-yos; they've been around forever, like the quilts that were popular back in the 1930s:



Also, laws of economics dictate that if mass production can yield a cheaper version, the consumer will surely go there.

The natural reaction is to point fingers at the mass-producers of things, to side with the small-timers. But I think that the onus here lies with the consumer; as the consumer, you have options for where your money goes, whether it be to an independent designer or a big box store. The consumer holds the power and makes the conscious decision.

And these decisions have consequences; will it be the death of the big box store or the indie artist/crafter? Well, I'm not sure that either will be happening any time soon, but I am certain that there will be a continuous struggle between the two.

As for offering a crochet pattern for the chain necklace; what. Seriously, I can't fathom that a pattern is even necessary for that design. So here, the idea of the necklace is more valuable than the pattern for it. Last time I checked, that is not the role of pattern books -- especially when the idea is already out there, and has been for years.

Anyway, if you can't figure that necklace out by looking at it, you should probably just buy it. And even if you can figure it out, at $30, I promise you, it's a STEAL.

1 comment:

  1. This is such as sensitive topic, for sure. I'm of two minds on it- on one side, I think that stores often steal ideas from independent artisans all the time, and always have; but it goes both ways- intrepid crafters have long been producing knock offs of 'designer' goods. I can think of more than a few patterns in ravelry that are knock offs of overpriced designer items, and I'm inclined to think that it is exactly the same thing. However. I think the very nature of crafting is about seeing something or coming up with an idea and making it for yourself or others.

    I totally agree with you about how we need to put our money where our values are- and that means my money goes towards indie artisans and crafters as much as possible, because I like supporting indie/local/handmade/enviro-friendly.

    One other thing- I have to admit I've seen variations of that necklace on etsy from other sellers for a while, and it's also similar to the t-shirt necklace that's been popular of late. Heck, I even made one of those t-shirt necklaces!
    http://www.cutoutandkeep.net/projects/ripped_scarf
    and here's a tutorial on making a yo-yo headband: http://www.cutoutandkeep.net/projects/as-requested-yo-yo-whats-up-with-your-head

    Sometimes many people are inspired to create similar items around the same time, based on other things that are happening in our style and culture. It happens.

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