Even though most of us are completely in love with fast fashion – low prices, trendy clothes – it definitely has a dark side to it. Recently there have been made allegations that because of strict and short-timed deadlines in the fast fashion industry women are constantly being sexually and physically abused, according to unions and rights groups. Over 540 workers in factories that supply fast fashion giants GAP and H&M have reported that they have been harassed at work. It is nothing else but a consequence of the pressure to produce as many products in the least time possible for the cheapest possible price in such countries as India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Even though there have been many claims of abuse in previously mentioned workplaces, according to Tola Moeun, director of Central Cambodia, an NGO involved in the research, this is the daily reality of female garment makers in the fast fashion industry and “most of these cases are not reported due to fear of retaliation in the workplace.”
Big fashion brands rip off smaller ones all the time, most commonly it’s fast fashion brands like Forever 21 or H&M. Last year, Zara copied $795 Balenciaga sneakers as well as Kanye West’s coveted Yeezys.
This is only one example of fashion brands copying each other. It happens all the time and can be seen in fast fashion and sometimes even in ready-to-wear fashion shows.
Why is it legal?
Brands can easily keep copying each other because of outdated copyright laws. Unlike music, drama, literature, and art, fashion is not adequately protected under American copyright law, meaning clothing designs can be duplicated without permission. Lawyer Doug Hand explained, that when copyright laws were being written in 1976, ‘“we were largely a nation of manufacturers rather than designers’. For this reason, until this day the designs of American designers aren’t properly protected and keep being copied by others.