If you don’t pay that much attention to fashion and famous designers you probably don’t think about how trends start. I always thought that big fashion houses have become so famous and expensive because of their unique ideas, creativity and exclusivity. After all, it’s hard to keep thinking of completely new ideas and original designs for clothes in this day and age where it seems like everything’s been done. It must take a lot of time, effort and most of all talent to come up with something original and beautiful. Or does it?
Recently there’s been quite an uproar regarding Dior’s pre-fall collection. It seems like it’s been heavily inspired by Bihor traditional clothes. I say “inspired” but when you see these pictures you start realizing that it’s simply stolen. It looks like Dior simply took Bihor national designs, put them on models and are selling them for $30K.
Bihor is a region of Romania that has a very rich culture and their national clothes and designs are a point of pride for them. They’ve been making these meticulously designed clothes for generations and it takes a lot of hard work to make them. It’s something they wear for national holidays or special events.
Now imagine how upsetting it must be when you’ve been doing something for ages and then a big fashion house just goes an steals your idea and hit designs and pretends it’s theirs, sells it for astronomical amounts of money, of which you get nothing. Moreover they don’t even credit any Bihor craftsmen or mention Bihor as a source of their inspiration. It’s basically blatant cultural appropriation.
When a Romanian fashion magazine Beau Monde found out about it they found a very interesting way of fighting back. They created a campaign called Bihor Couture that allows fashionistas all over the world to buy beautiful Bihor designed clothes at a way cheaper price than Dior , and they give the money back to the local craftsmen who made the clothes, therefore benefiting the community. Take that, Dior.
You should also know that Dior is not the first big name to do this. Multiple designers have tried something similar in the past, where they take something that’s not well known or something long forgotten and present it as their own. And what do they do when they get called out on this? They say they were inspired by the original. But can you call it inspiration when you copy stuff line for line? What do you think?