Is there really such a thing as an UN-inspired bag?

  1. Do you think it is possible to go to any retailer, online or offline, and find any bag at any price that cannot be said to be Inspired by one designer or other, especially ones who have been fortunate to have one or more of their creations become "hits," (or "its")? :smile:

    How about shoes? Dresses? Bras? Are there any that are not Inspired by somedesigner or somedesign that achieved such great success in the marketplace that consumers demanded "one that looks like (insert wildly poplular garment or accessory here)?

    This post was actually inspired by the knowledge of the people here. I have two bags, one chocolate brown, one red, each one purchased for $12.99 at an "outlet" style store called The Burlington Coat Factory.

    I just bought them because I liked them, they were colors I needed, and they were being sold at a Poor Person-friendly price.

    While I do have 3 little bags that are arrogantly proud to be Distinguished NotChanel Representatives of the Inspired Pride Movement (all bought on eBay, from different vendors, all for under $20, and none misrepresented or sold with claims to be anything but "designer look" or "designer inspired) it really never occurred to me that these two from the Burlington Coat Factory had been inspired by anything except the desire of the Dolce Vita Company (that's what was on the tag) to sell inexpensive bags in popular colors.

    After looking around here, however, I discovered that both bags are indeed Inspired by a popular designer.

    And the more I have availed myself of the expertise here, the more I began to wonder:

    Is there anything that we buy, especially fashion items, that is NOT Inspired?

    Is anything Truly UN-Inspired?

    What do you think?
  2. Honestly? No.

    A lot of inexpensive clothes and accessories are 'inspired by' designer items; simply because that's what most people want.

    High end designers are almost the same, although are generally less obvious about it. Many are inspired by each other's recent, or vintage, designs and the 'original' designers they were inspired by were very rarely truly original, but in turn, were inspired by vintage, or historical, fashion.

    Because clothes and accessories have been around for so very long, there is very little that hasn't been done, at least once, before and usually, many more times than that.

    I see many posts on tPF where the poster is complaining that they think a designer has ripped off another designer, because they have used the same motif, e.g. a skull, on an item. But how can you copyright a motif like a skull? :shrugs: Skulls have been used in fashion for thousands of years!

    Similarly, recently, someone said that they thought that a Roberto Cavalli bag had a print that was very similar to the famous Biba print. But as Biba themselves 'borrowed' their 'original' print from an Art Nouveau printer's mark (from a book of Scandinavian typefaces), it is highly unlikely that they would have a problem with it! :biggrin:
  3. Exactly!
    Suppose someone came on here, if possible, someone even more clueless than I on the subject of designer bags, and said, I want one that has plump little pockets in front.

    How many different designers would be represented in the recommendations?

    Or my personal favorite elements, quilted bags with chain straps, entwined with a strip of the bag material?

    If I had $100,000 to spend, to how many different designers would you send me if my goal were to get me a mess of bags that had that?

    So if the popular big name designers themselves are inspired by each other, what can we expect from the "entry level" designer charged with deciding what the "housebrand" offerings will be in the handbag department at BigRetailer Inc?

    Which leads me to another question, when was the last time somebody - anybody - came up with a really original bag? Maybe it is just being old, but much of what I see being touted as new and cutting edge looks mighty familiar.... ;)

    (And BTW the bag in your avatar is wonderful! It reminds me of some antique Chinese embroidery that I thought was so beautiful I put it in a frame and hung it on the wall!)

  4. Quite. :yes:

    I think that has always been (and will always be) the case. Fashion is cyclical, afterall.

    That's why I think the advice of some, rather naive (in my opinion), stylists and fashion journalists of; 'If you wore it the last time, don't wear it again.' is pretty ridiculous, if you take it literally.

    The fashion cycle is moving faster than ever and if you're over the age of 20 you have to start repeating, or you'd run out of things to wear!

    Thank you. :flowers: It's my all-time favourite bag (it's from Phoebe Philo's best collection for Chloe, IMO, A/W '03 - '04).

    It reminds me of a book I pestered my Mum to buy for me when I was a child, I think it was called 'Heavenly Tiger Lily and Other Stories' and it was full of the most beautiful illustrations of big cats surrounded by flowers.

    The bag in your avatar is gorgeous, too. :yes:

    Turquoise and gold is one of my favourite colour combinations! :heart: :heart: :heart:
  5. Everything I see in the stores these days is uninspired. Downright plain, if not ugly, too.
  6. No, everything is inspired by something else.

    People don't live in a vacuum, especially creative people. The brilliance of creatives is that they can take anything and transform/alter/manipulate it into something else. They can take a sentence from a book, a postcard, a color swatch, etc. and turn it into a gorgeous bag. Of course some inspiration is not that far removed. Some will look at a purse (sometimes vintage) and create a new purse. That's why archives and lookbooks/color stories/collages are so important for artists, designers, advertising geniuses.

    There is nothing wrong with inspiration. I think, however, there is something very wrong with deliberate copying.
  7. Fashion is a very small, incestuous industry. It is a creative industry but it is also a business.

    First of all, fashion reflects the mood of the times (it also helps to create the mood, but in general, fashion reflects it). It starts with the fabric and color trend that is set in Paris and trickles down from there. With inspiration from the current mood of the time (ie happy if the world economy is doing well), what trends are big (ie "Asia"), etc., clothing and accessories are designed. That's why you see a lot of the same sort of thing on the runways. (Of course there are the rebels but they are always the minority.)

    Second, you need to think about the role of the designer verses the role of the mass marketer. The designer is supposed to be the creative genius (whether you agree with this or not). The creative genius is the one with the brilliance and resources to make fantastical and even unwearable clothing. There is less regard (though it is becoming more commercial) for what designs make economic sense. Contrast this with the mass marketer. His job is to bring fashion to the masses. It's not about reinventing fashion. For the most part people covet designer clothes. They are innovative and fun. But designer clothes (especially haute couture) is not "reality." People are not looking for mass marketers to change the style of fashion (though it is starting to happen, kind of ... can explain what I mean later if you want) they are looking for more wearable (and economical) versions of it. Thus, the goal of mass market brands isn't to create new styles but to mimick the designers. Of course what you see at BigRetailer will have characteristics of the designer clothing/bags.

    To answer your question, designers are inspired by other designers but it's not in the same way that mass retailers are. Designers, for the most part (though of course there are exceptions), are inspired by each other because not only are they are all friends with each other and it's hard to escape from that interaction, they also take this inspiration to create something new. The mass marketer takes its inspiration from the designers not as something to inspire them, but a benchmark for what their designs should emulate for the season.
  8. Thank you, sonya, for such a thoughtful and insightful post!

    Everything you say affirms my observations over the decades.

    I think the biggest fashion change - and I could, if you like, make a very good argument that also the biggest societal change - that I have seen in my lifetime is the acceptability of women wearing pants!

    When I was a little girl, women did not wear pants. Oh, there may have been a couple of movie stars - Katherine Hepburn comes to mind :smile: - who wore them, but not "regular" people.

    There were actually rules against it, in schools, etc., though looking back, I don't know why, since, well, since nobody wore them! I didn't know of a single female who even owned a pair of pants!

    Then, suddenly, within the space of just a few years - WHOOMP! Women in pants were everywhere! In cities, in small towns, offices - even houses of worship! The schools changed the rules from "no pants" to "what kind of pants."

    And mini-skirts, not seen since the 1920s came back! But that was not as big a change, since it was just a "coming back." And then they went away. And now they have come back.

    Meanwhile, as you so eloquently point out, the wheels of the fashion industry keep on turning, as they always have, from those famous runways down which sashay and shantay the 6 foot tall, 110 lb models, wearing pieces of textile art that would look just plain weird anywhere on earth except on that runway, and from that trickle little elements, some of which become huge hits, and are soon ubiquitous, then fade away - until that wheel, and that most ephemeral element - the mood of the global street, stop on their dime again next decade, maybe two, maybe three - the 1960s mini-skirt revival took 40 years!

    So, are we being unfair, am *I* being unfair - to even use the term "Inspired" when we can buy nothing - from handbag to toothbrush to rainboots - that is NOT inspired by some design, some work of art by somebody, somewhere, sometime?

    When it is, as you have so aptly laid out, not really possible that a human being, living, as so many of us do, here on earth :smile: no matter how brilliant, how genius he or she may be, to create anything at all that is not Inspired by something or someone, is "Inspired" even a valid concept? Or is it too simply a creation, a word on a page, a made-up thing that means something different to all who see it, all who use it, a rhetorical Rorschach blob that if it does anything at all, says more about US than the clothing and accessories to which we apply it?

    LOL kmccrea, I agree that we do seem to be going through what in my view is a somewhat ugly fashion period at the moment. However, I am sad to say, I fear that it is indeed all inspired by somebody or other (see sonya's posts and my reply above) If you can post a link to an example of something that is truly un-Inspired, I would love to see it!

  9. ITA. :yes:

  10. My grandmother did, although she used to get some funny looks, apparently!

    I guess that's where I get it from! :lol:

    I presume her (and certainly my) reasoning is, that any attractive, practical fashion will become acceptable in the end, so why not be a pioneer, rather than a follower?! :biggrin:

    I think to be fashionable, it helps to be fairly open-minded.

    In the UK, we were wearing mini-skirts again by the '80s (straight/tapered) and again, in the mid '90s (A-line).

    I think the mini has been more in than out since the '60s!

    Yes! :biggrin:

    But as we've already noted, 'inspired' is fine, good even; especially if it has further developed/fine tuned/improved on the original idea.

    Sometimes designers create/reinvent a concept that, although beautiful, is made from impractical, uncomfortable fabrics (for example) and it takes a commercial eye to produce a truly wearable version of this concept.

    Created to deceive is obviously not fine, however.

    I think by 'fake/counterfeit' most of us here mean made to deceive (however competently/incompetently).

    I think, by 'inspired', most of us here (I hope) mean 'made to mimic'. We are not referring to designs which cleverly 'borrow' elements from previous (or even current) inspiring designs, so that they can live again (or be more attainable). :biggrin:

    IMO, early-to-mid decade is often somewhat confused, as, contrary to popular belief; it seems to be the time when fashion 'makes up its mind' as to where it is going for the next 10 years.

    For example, when people talk about '60s fashions, they are generally referring to mid-to-late '60s fashion; not to early '60s fashion, which had far more in common with the styles of the late '50s.
  11. Very good points, Miss chloehandbags! Your grandmother sounds like a wonderfully "set in her own skin" lady, and you are very lucky to have had such a role model!

    I am so glad you revived this topic, I was thinking about it as I posted in the 5 favorite bags thread, of course I was unable to name five, but I realized that all my favorites were neither any examples of the various "big names" that have found their way to my closet over the years, nor my modern Inspired ones, with which I am having so much fun, but what are essentially one-of-a-kind works of textile art, and that should one make a study of the embroidery of a particular little mountain village or tribe, in those too we will find Inspiration, from another tribe or village, often from nature itself!

    A lady sits in front of her little house, and watches a hummingbird, and gets out her needle, and next thing you know, surrounded by sworls of traditional designs and patterns, the bright threads tell the story of the little creature's visit to the wild blosssoms that adorn the entrance of her humble dwelling.

    The neurologists among us might say that the same process took place along the neural pathways of the individual who looked at the classic Chanel flap, head to one side, changed the proportions a bit, and with a twinkle in her eye, put a sassy little rhinestone "X" on the clasp!

    In neither case was there any intent to deceive anybody, but bring a smile to the recipient and perhaps a coin or two to the pocket of the artist.

    You are absolutely right about the decades doing their little dance of fashion shakeout, and the sixties are an excellent example, because so many people, even if they don't have personal memories of them, will have heard about it from their parents. (and oh Lord! their grandparents!) :O

    At the beginning of the sixties, for example, the look of the Camelot era, as exemplified by "Jackie," was all the rage, and quite a far cry from the mini-skirts and Beatleboots of the middle, much less the tie-dye and buffalo sandals of the end!

    Your point about mini-skirts, especially in Europe, is well-taken. Maybe the sixties can receive some credit for making a genuine change in the traditional elevator of skirt-length fashion, since there has definitely been a wider range of choices since then, but the mini-skirt does seem to me to more ubiquitous today than it was in the 80s, but that might be a personal thing, having lost 55 lbs, and especially in light of the simultaneous return of opaque and even patterned "tights, my thoughts have quite naturally turned toward the possibility of owning a just-above-the-knee skirt myself, for the first time in 40 years! :biggrin:

    So who knows at what point the two-aughts will find itself, do its own winnowing and shaking out? What fashion will define this decade? And may we dare to hope that the bubble skirt will go the way of the tent dress and the unfortunate polyester leisure suit? :biggrin:

  12. Thank you, ShimmaPuff, I agree. As an artist, my mother was even more adventurous! :biggrin:

    Very true and I also agree that when looking back it is the individualistic pieces of handmade, wearable art that you remember with most fondness; whether they are designer, or made by an independent artist/craftsperson.

    I love this thread, BTW, I think it's very interesting! T4P. :flowers:

    What a lovely image you conjure, ShimmaPuff!

    You should be a writer (if you're not already!).

    True. :yes:


    Go for it! :biggrin:

    I think '60s inspired tunics (worn with opaque tights, leggings, or slim trousers depending on the length of the tunic and the body type and/or modesty of the wearer!) are wonderfully wearable.

    I agree. I'm not a great fan of the bubble, myself - or the polyester leisure suit. :lol:

    Although, each to his/her own, of course!
  13. Eek...the bubble skirt...when I saw those in stores again, I cringed. They look terrible on anyone who is bigger than a size 2(JMHO). And since we are talking "all fashion" for a moment, let me just add that one trend I am happy to see going away is the "ultra low rise". Ugh...egads, these should not be made available...I have seen too many people who should not wear them, prancing around with the "crack" on their backside hanging out(not to mention rolls hanging over their sides). I personally find them offensive and distracting. It makes me wonder how many folks leave the house and never once-over themselves in a mirror? Do not get me wrong, I think that slightly below the waist is flattering, and over the navel is just NOT. I am also happy to see half-shirts fading, as I think the children who are allowed to wear these(other than at the beach or other appropriate place) are a very sad sight, and the adults, well, you know what it looks like when worn inappropriately. But, back on topic, there is a reason why things are called "in style". That means they are inspired by the fashion elite. Be it bright colors(think neon in the 80s, metallics in the past few years. I guess the only way to say something is not inspired (to some degree) is if it takes a fair step away from the most coveted fashion of the season. Think big bags, vs big "motorcycle bags", or quilted, vs. "quilted frame bags", or unique hardware vs. a padlock. I am sorry to tell anyone who "hates inspired" but I have seen about 50-100 copies of the muse in everything from vinyl to snakeskin this season. The little button or buckle or knob at the top may be different, but in the grand scheme of things, to find a bag in that shape 2 years ago would have been NEARLY impossible. It would have been a search that went on for months, most likely. When the YSL Muse came out, it may have been a slap in the face to that small unknown designer somewhere who had a bag similar in their collection. Point is, now every store has a version. Same with the quilted frame bags. In fact, the Prada nylon hobo of several years back(slight curve to the bag, one handle that is fairly short) is being sold in every discount outlet in the country in every material imaginable.
    The point I am making here, I guess, is that "inspired" is an objective term, especially here on TPF and in fashion in general. It is one we will never be able to pinpoint. We all have an opinion, and they vary greatly. As an observation, in the fashion sense, I feel that the more attached one is to a particular designer, the more likely they will be to think something is "too inspired". They feel the need to "protect" their own sense of fashion. This is not always the case, but it makes sense if you liken it to protecting your own written work or even your own idea. As fashion can be very emotional for some of us(as it is a big source of pleasure for most of us), we may tend to "connect" ourselves to the work of our favorite designers. At that point, we try to defend them from others looking to "steal" from their brilliant collections. Some designers may feel the same way, but others(and I believe I can honestly say, if it were me), especially those designers who are most coveted, well known, recognized and celebrated in the fashion industry, may realize this as what it is. Imitation. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. I would feel very humbled to think that my design was so unique and universally recieved, that it was acccepted and loved and coveted by the masses. The biggest fashion houses of the world know that they set the trends. Their designers are paid to do just that. They are selling things that will never be affordable to the entire public and were never intended to be. They are known for being the deciding point in where style goes from one year to the next, and be certain that the designs that become mass marketed are noted as a GLOWING success by many in the industry.

  14. I think one of the problems with ultra low rise jeans is that they either have to be worn very tight (which creates the dreaded muffin top!), or they fall down, as they have nothing (like hips) to stop them and depending on your body type, both can happen simultaneously!

    Add to that, the problems caused by bending/sitting down :lol: and you're basically in an all-round lose situation!

    I agree. :yes:

    Of course, sometimes, the reason that a design is greatly imitated, is not so much that it is brilliant, but that it is simply easy to imitate.

    If a bag design is fairly simple to make and utilises hardware that already exists, it is likely to be copied and machine made in cheaper materials far sooner than a bag that is time-consuming and complex to produce and that utilises hardware unique to the designer.

    Also, because the 'inspired' bag makers can copy a simple design so easily, as we know, sometimes the copy is available for sale sooner than the handmade original and the copy can actually make the original bag well known and inspire desire for it, rather than the other way around!
  15. in point...your fabulous "McQueen" bag! :nuts:
    Not many knockoffs of that puppy popping up in Target!
    Seriously, though, those are all great points, and I think that goes back to "objective" other words "one man's inspired is another man's replica". I think it all depends on how well we know the designer. (though, of course, I think we all agree that a "replica" in the copied/misrepresented/scam/illegal sense of the word, is never the best option for a bag) We will all have differing opinions on where to draw the line, and I think it is interesting to hear/compare the differing opinions of TPF. :yes: