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DVF Does the Right Thing

For hardcore fashion pirates, copying is just a business method -- where the law lets them get away with it.  But what happens when an otherwise creative designer finds that she's inadvertently plagiarized a little-known label?

CFDA President and designer extraordinaire Diane von Furstenberg was "horrified" to learn this morning that her "Zaria" jacket for spring 2009 (right) bears a strong resemblance to a spring 2008 look from the indie Canadian label Mercy (left) -- and she lost no time in taking action.

 Mercy jacket (left) and DVF Zaria jacket (right)

Diane, who has suffered at the hands of career copyists herself and has been a determined proponent of U.S. legislation to extend intellectual property protection to fashion designs, immediately sought to get all of the facts and to reach out to the Mercy duo of Jennifer Halchuk and Richard Lyle.  Although there is no copyright violation in this case -- the DVF fabric pattern and the Mercy floral, both of which are subject to protection, are quite different -- Diane nevertheless intends to voluntarily compensate the Canadian designers for the unauthorized use of their work.  No doubt she'll also be having a conversation with the 15+ members of her design team about the difference between inspiration and imitation.

"I am devastated," Diane told Counterfeit Chic, "but this can be a lesson for everyone." 

Score one for corporate ethics -- not an oxymoron after all.


Many thanks to fabulous fashion illustrator Danielle Meder, who was the first to send a tip!