According to an article in today's WWD, many designers' strategy for spring is unprintable. Or nearly unprintable.
As a deterrent to knockoff artists, designer labels are relying on intricate and technically complex fabric prints and surface designs that would be difficult to replicate on the cheap. In other words, it's no accident that everything's coming up roses -- and peonies, and lillies, and abstract modern blossoms beyond nature's ken -- for spring. Reporter Alessandra Ilari notes:
[S]ince the new prints are immensely complicated, and, in many cases, hand painted, they're also increasingly a way for designer brands to differentiate themselves from the fast-fashion retailers -- and counterfeiters -- snapping at their heels.
"One of the main reasons we have chosen to explore two-dimensional design and surface through embroidery is that it is very difficult to copy. The labor involved is difficult and time-consuming, which makes mass producing and/or copying impossible," asserted Jack McCollough of Proenza Schouler.
Added Stefano Gabbana [of Dolce & Gabbana]: "Though our creativity is never influenced by counterfeiters, whoever wants to copy this collection is in for a tough time."
"We develop a lot of different versions of an idea, and when we do a print, the idea is to get it to our own stores as quickly as possible, so there is less of a chance of quick knockoffs," [designer Cynthia] Rowley said, adding that what distinguishes a real print from the knockoff is in the quality of the fabric.
Of course, original fabric prints and 2D decoration are subject to copyright, unlike the underlying clothing designs -- a legal protection that designers such as Diane von Furstenberg have successfully invoked against copyists. But adding a few thorns among the roses isn't a bad idea either.