The Recycle of Fashion

We live in a remixed world where the question constantly looms in the back of our minds: is anything original? Is it possible to create something new, or is everything just a rehash of what we’ve previously consumed?

Because of globalisation, the flow of information is so rampant that copying and remixing is only increasing. Take fashion, for instance. New and amateur designers, thanks to technology and widely published books, now have access to all the fashion records of most major countries throughout history.

If an up-and-coming designer goes onto the internet and Google searches a 1800s  wedding gown style,

have they plagiarise the designs of that era when they present a slightly modified version of them to a company or is it simply just a remix?

As file-sharing and the music industry have shown us, intellectual property rights is such a slippery-slope these days, especially for those who would claim that the law is wrong, like some in the file-sharing community do.

In their article Sharing Music Files: Tactics of a challenge to the industry, scholars Martin, Moore and Salter support this, saying, “In analysing the controversy over file–sharing, it is important to note that what counts as injustice — or unfairness, inappropriate behaviour, or any other negative label — varies from person to person” (Martin, Moore & Salter 2010).

The middle road between inspiration and plagiarism is the remix. As with adaptation, you acknowledge the original source when ‘remixing’ an idea, but don’t reference your source officially, especially in areas like fashion.

B Martin, C Moore and C Salter also discuss cover-up as one of the main tactics to get away with stealing other people’s ideas. They say, “This cover–up is selective: within the file–sharing community, downloads can be carried out openly, whereas secrecy and disguise are more likely to be used in relation to outsiders” (Martin, Moore & Salter 2010). This could mean that amateur designers share their sources, but present the idea as original when marketing it to people.

Overalls opportunity

Image courtesy of Clash Daily

fashion overalls.jpg

Image courtesy of Become Gorgeous

It is commonly acknowledged that fashion moves in cycles, and while evolving somewhat, a lot of the styles are rehashed. As seen in the pictures above, clothing that used to be worn for practical reasons, like overalls, are now being showcased as fashion items. Also hundreds of years ago, tights were part of a typical gentleman’s dress, but now although supposedly obsolete, tights have resurfaced for boys in the form of ‘skins’ used for sports. Styles may be advertised as the ‘latest thing’, but in many cases an original form of that style can be found in fashion centuries ago.

Can we conclude then that although the ingredients we use to create something are the culmination or direct result of things we’ve consumed, that our end result is certainly personal to us, if not completely original?


<<< This post was written and published in 2013 on a previous blog of mine for a university class assessment. As such, some of the data may be outdated or inaccurate. >>>



Picture 1: ‘Clash Daily’, retrieved 20 August 2013, <;.

Picture 2: ‘Become Gorgeous’, retrieved 20 August 2013, <;.

Ferguson, K 2011, ‘Vimeo’, retrieved 21 August 2013, <;.

‘Heritage Gown’, retrieved 20 August 2013, <;.

Martin, B, Moore, C & Salter, C 2010, ‘Sharing music files: tactics of a challenge to the industry’, First Monday, vol. 15, no. 12.

‘Tumblr’, retrieved 20 August 2013, <;.

White, K 2012, ‘Globalization and its impact on the Fashion Industry’, retrieved 21 August 2013, <;.

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