My contest winning dress design copied to win another design contest

I designed this qipao styled dress for Fan+Friend online shop’s design contest 2009. The idea of the contest is to design a lolita/aristocrat styled outfit and the winning outfit will be made as an actual piece to be sold at the F+F online store. I happened to win with this design:

The original design by Charlotta Tiuri (noke89):

This is the dress Fan+Friend made and it is now sold at their online store.

The original piece by Fan+Friend:

About one year later somebody noticed me in Deviantart, that they have seen something, that seems to be a rip off of my design. I got a link to chicstar.com and I found this:

The Rip Off by Daniela Valentini and chicstar:

Daniela Valentini had won a contest with this design in chicstar and the chicstar have now made the dress and they are also selling it on their site. I reported this in their site, but they refused to remove it.

The similarities:

I think anyone can tell the similarities between the designs and I think this “designer” have seen the dress that is sold on F+F site and ripped off the idea from it. The color options are exactly the same, the idea of the print is exactly the same (for me it doesn’t matter if it’s birds & flowers or just flowers) and the basic shape and the ruffles in the bottom are exactly the same.

The differences:

Fan+Friend did some changes to my original design as well. The ruffles on the back side, the corset lacing in the back and they also changed the print a little bit. Still it is my design. Daniela Valentini also did minimal changes, she added the buttons on the front and there are no ruffles on the back (just like in my original design) while in F+F version there are. I don’t think these little details really matter, the overview is just the same.

What is the design originally about:

The “designer” seemed to know nothing about the inspiration of this dress since she named the piece  ”Japan Inspired Lolita Dress” . As the original designer of this dress I know it is China inspired dress that’s got influence form the traditional Chinese dress qipao. The style is naturally lolita style, since the original design contest was a about lolita fashion. And lolita style comes from Japan so every lolita dress is basically  Japan inspired. The style of this dress in fact is qi-lolita (qipao+lolita). If you don’t know this much about these styles and you haven’t seen the F+F dress that I designed, then it is quite a coincidence that you have been able to pull out exact the same style of design.

19 comments

  • They’re close, but neither is exactly super-original.

  • Unfortunately clothing just isn’t protected under copyright law, so I don’t think there’s a lot you can do :(

  • They could also have been inspired by this doll’s outfit, which already existed in 2006.

    http://pullipstyle.com/pullipstyle/product_info.php?cPath=22_43&products_id=34

  • This does look like a rip off. If it’s any comfort, I like the original better than I like the chicstar version with the frog buttons.

    @Sardonyx: Except that the doll dress doesn’t look like either one.

  • Probably a ripoff, but good luck getting them to admit to that.

    The Qipao part is debatable, but it’s the identical bottoms that seems to seal the deal on this. On any other dress, it wouldn’t be lolita enough to qualify…

  • Notice the sleeves especially; Most qipao dresses are either sleeve less or have simple normal sleeves, but both dresses have these puffy ones. That makes it harder for me to believe this is all coincidence…
    I love your design btw I’m thinking of buying one! :-)

  • Let me see if I can follow your design process.

    You took the base deisgn 2006 lolita image from diviantart

    http://club-lolita.deviantart.com/art/Clouds-and-Dreams-Club-ID-40219856

    then added a traditional Qipao collar and some offcenter embroydery (trite in and of itself).

    There is nothing unique about your design.

  • well… the whole backside is different. the front basically looks the same, but that seems a pretty standard dress to me. looks like they just went the h&m way and sell something similar to a style, but cheaper.

  • While yours is a particularly nice version of it (and the design of the proposal is lovely), I agree that the idea of adding a qipao yoke and mandarin neckline to a basic puff-sleeved a-line Lolita dress with a ruffled hem is not exactly revolutionary. Rachel @ Last Res0t: the ruffle is de rigeur for Lolita styles, albeit somewhat pared down because of the qipao influence, and contrast piping is pretty normal for qipao-inspired looks, too. I’m not saying the F+F dress is not well designed, but it is no great coincidence that other dresses would be like it, either.

  • It is pretty likely a rip off, but as has been mentioned it is not illegal to copy clothing styles. Even to duplicate a dress in its entirety is allowed. There are actually some pretty good arguments as to why it is considered ok and in some ways even beneficial. I am not sure if I am convinced entirely, but the law is on the side of the copiers in this instance.

    The only thing (if I remember correctly) that can’t be copied in fashion is a logo. That is why some designers emblazon logos all over their products- so that imitations can’t really be made.

    Here is a very interesting video lecture on the subject- http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/johanna_blakley_lessons_from_fashion_s_free_culture.html

  • It must be hard when it seems like someone else is taking your creativity, but this happens in fashion all the time. It is not considered stealing. People take ideas and they put their own spin on it. The two versions do look different although there are clear similarities. However, they are not the same. The second dress, looks more refined and elegant, in my opinion. It also seems to be more fitted which I like.

    There are several people who have commented that they like yours better, so take comfort that your version appeals to some people more than the other dress. Focus on your work and forget about what others are doing.

  • In Australia there is protection for those who work in the jewellery and fashion industries (even without logos emblazoned on them), but the problem is it can be expensive & most people forego the whole process. The only times you really hear about it is when the big players butt heads, such as: Ksubi successfully winning a case over Sass & Bide over a particular pair of jeans & Bettina Liano winning over Dotti.

    Just incase you haven’t heard already. I advise you & anyone else interested in getting into this business, to pick up a free copy of “Fashion Rules” (a guide to intellectual property for the clothing and fashion design industry from IP Australia), read the blog protectingbrands.com.au & if you’re in Victoria, then keep an eye out for lectures by one of the best in the business IP lawyer Trevor Choy.

    Hope that helps :)

  • Ironic, considering that Fan+Friend rips off a hell of a lot of designs themselves.

  • Pingback: Guerra de Lolitas | Mundochica | Moda, decoracion y sexo

  • Your work was insanely referential to begin with — are you sure YOU didn’t rip off 1000% Japanese designers?

  • I highly doubt it’s a rip-off considering the latter artist may just have taken modernized liberties themselves. They’re both altered qipaos and that’s all I see. As mentioned above they’re both referential likewise so…nothing can be filed here.

  • Sorry, but you don’t have a case. Unfortunately in fashion design there are no infringement policies. That’s why Forever 21 is still in business.
    Since they altered the print enough technically they aren’t stealing. It sucks by there is nothing you can do.

  • to be honest, I once had the exact same idea (also with flowers on the side) and I was thinking about drawing it and submitting it to chicstar when I saw Daniela Valentini’s design, I was shocked but it’s just not an original design. You thought of it, she thought of it, I thought of it, even independant of each other.

  • I’m sorry but dresses in this design have been sold in Japan for years, In fact I bought one in Tokyo in 2002, it’s almost exactly the same so I’m actually wondering where YOU got the design from.

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