Monday, January 19, 2009

What Might've Been

The fabric for the Rinse aprons finally arrived--AFTER Market was past. Ah, well. I whipped up a couple aprons anyway, since Heather says she still wants a few for upcoming street markets, etc. One is flouncy and gathered and very French Maid:

The other is flat front and has more of a retro feel, with a round pocket made from the pressed flower medallion:

I've been reading today about the "controversy" from a couple years ago surrounding using Amy Butler's fabrics in items to sell--best as I can understand, she at one point disallowed selling creations with her prints on them, as an infringement of her copyright over the print design itself--which makes sense, since she licenses her designs all over the place. There was quite the uproar, though, since so many designers get their inspiration from vintage origins, and who's protecting THOSE folks' intellectual property? More here, if you're interested.

So, I had a brief moment of concern. I know Heather prefers the flat-front apron, so I figured I'd make a child's version of the French Maid shape and put it over at Beehive as part of the Mommy-and-Me apron collection I'm installing in time for Valentine's Day baking. But what if I was infringing on Amy Butler's copyright? It seems she's since rescinded her decision, and now we can all use her prints, thank goodness. But it gave me plenty to wonder about and worry about, and made me even more aware of the burden each of us has to protect what we create. This IS a free market, and my policy generally is that if someone else is doing a style or design that is very similar to one of my original ideas, either I'll move on to something new--why go to the mat over an idea that's achieved such saturation that it's no longer distinctively mine??--or I'll rely on my fabric choices, craftsmanship, detailing, and customer service to put my product over and above the copycats. Having said that, I'm being much more careful with my intellectual property these days, and am finding that while I like the security I get from knowing I'm more protected, it's a double-edged sword: I also think more about property and ownership than I like.

So, with each of these Friday posts I'm putting up, I feel as though I'm marking my territory a little, putting my ideas out there early and making them mine. Silly, maybe. The aprons are the same way: lots of apron designers out there these days. Not as many doing Mommy-and-Me, and fewer still doing the shapes and styles I like. I hope Heather likes hers, and am looking forward to having something new over at the store.

1 comment:

glamspoon said...

admittedly, I haven't read all the hoopla surrounding Amy Butler's fabrics, but I don't fully understand how creating your own design with any random fabric could be infringement. guess I better read all the posts before I comment further.