McRobbie, Strutt, Bandinelli and Springer (2016)
|McRobbie, Strutt, Bandinelli and Springer (2016)|
|Title:||Fashion micro-enterprises in London, Berlin, Milan|
|Author(s):||Angela McRobbie, Dan Strutt, Carolina Bandinelli, Bettina Springer|
|Citation:||McRobbie, A., Strutt, D., Bandinelli, C. And Springer, B. (2016) Fashion micro-enterprises in London, Berlin, Milan. CREATe Working Paper Series DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.162668|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||The research consists of a longitudinal case study across fashion enterprises in London, Berlin and Milan. Semi-structured interviews were the primary means of obtaining data, which evolved into practices akin to cultural anthropology (observations, conversations, “hanging out”).|
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||Yes|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
“This report provides an account of a series of interviews, observational visits and hosted events with 8-10 fashion designers in three cities: London, Berlin and Milan, carried out from 2012-2016.
In some cases we interviewed the same designers two or three times over a period of nearly three years. The research project also entailed documented conversations and meetings with a range of fashion experts, consultants, legal advisors and policy makers in each city. Often these took place within the context of organised events undertaken as part of the research process. The aim was to investigate the kind of start-ups or micro-enterprises which have come into being in the last decade. We were interested in whether these were the outcome of pro-active urban creative economy policies or if they were self-organised initiatives, a reaction to the crisis of the euro-zone of 2008 and the consequent recession. Was it the case that long-term austerity policies and exceptionally high rates of youth and graduate unemployment across Europe had spawned these kinds of seemingly independent economic activities? We were also minded to consider the role of intellectual property (IP) and copyright in fashion as part of the wider UK government agenda for growth and wealth creation within the creative economy as a whole.”
Main Results of the Study
London - Fashion enterprises here find that copying is a fact of professional life, of which interviewees expressed some level of discomfort. However, due to the cyclical nature of fashion, respondents appreciated that re-cycling is somewhat necessary. Larger companies (e.g Vivienne Westwood) are generally better equipped to deal with cases of infringement, as a result of having efficient archiving systems and monetary resources. Whilst some copying is tolerated, a tough approach is taken in relation to key items. Trade secrets are implemented for particularly vulnerable works (e.g. knitwear).
Berlin - Akin to London, there is a notably low importance placed on copyright, with copying perceived to be an occupational hazard. Instead of litigation, social media is implemented to “name and shame” and deter infringers.
Milan - As with London and Berlin, Milan finds similar issues with copying, but demonstrates less legal awareness, and is less likely to take action against potential infringers. Despite expressing frustration at the high cost barriers for pursuing infringers, paradoxically, interviewees report that copying is widespread, and perhaps unavoidable. Instead, brand development is perceived as a means of protecting fashion enterprises, with more emphasis on cultural backgrounds, and methods of communicating.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
As opposed to introducing legal regulations, the authors suggest that a “Voluntary Code of Practice for Intellectual Property” should be established, akin to other social awareness campaigns. Companies would be able to subscribe to this code to create a type of industry-wide standard of acceptable copying practices.