Fashion: Theft is the New Black

The Tribe

You know the script, right? Just in case let's place you in a scenario. 

At the age of 8, you show your mother a fairly competent drawing, and you're met with the 'facts' that you could never be an artist. You could only copy. 

Anger sets in and takes its place as the fuel behind your art.

You are the only pupil at secondary school banned (by arrangement from your own mother) from doing compulsory art. 

You finally do get into art college and you have your funding pulled half way through your second years. Tutors want to sue your mother so you can finish your education. 

Decades pass where you conquer the good, the bad and the worst of the ugly and you come out the other end with talent left right and centre. It feeds into every aspect of your life. You live your art, you breathe your art, and you wear your art.

You're Diane Goldie, and you've spent your whole life fighting to be an artist, and you're getting quite the name for yourself. Then someone comes along, takes some of the most stylistic and iconic parts of your artistry and claims if for their own: Gucci. 

Diane first came onto the fashion radar in spectacular style when her StyleLikeU video went viral:

The Gucci Gift 

A cushion by Diane Goldie

The maker of wearable art noticed her clearly established aesthetic wandering down Gucci's latest catwalk shown at Westminster Abbey. Researched unearthed that the same designer for the collection had launched a concept bag where the customer could choose elements to decorate their Gucci bag. See below:

By Diane Goldie

By 'Gucci'

I know what you're thinking, probable coincidence. Nothing is original, etc. Well, there's a lot more confirmation to this than you think. Take a look at this 

And now check out these: 

The above are both Diane's but in that Vogue link you can see the clear imitation. And furthermore:

Exhibit A - THE GUCCI GUIDE TO BRITISH SUBCULTURE by Dazed and Confused 

Here it is from the horses mouth, an article discussing how Gucci's inspirations were British subculture. And hell, they even mention 'tribes' - a direct calling card of Diane Goldie's work and ethics. 

Exhibit B - When Diane tried to spread the word about Gucci copying her ideas with like-minded users on Dazed and Confused's Facebook page, her comments were promptly and quietly deleted with no explanation. The media didn't want to know. Does that have something to do with the amount of endorsement fashion publications have from the fashion giants? Absolutely. 

Need more convincing?

Here's some examples of Diane's wearable art which features embroidery, painting, up-cycling, eye catching colour palettes: 

Gucci's Cruise Collection released months later

And a little more:



Diane's aesthetic of embroidery and florals


Probably the most baffling thing about all this is that some may say "Yeah but, you aren't in the same market as Gucci, they are high fashion, bespoke wear." Well that's the thing, Diane's clothing is bespoke. There's only one of its kind giving to each client. Her art revolves around the client themselves. She doesn't outsource, she creates art for each and every client on a bespoke basis. So they're not as far from each other as you think. Since there's very little difference in the aesthetic of Gucci's work, the real difference is the price tag. So not only has Diane's aesthetic been ripped off, every customer who purchases it is being financially shafted. 

So what are you supposed to do when a fashion giant robs you of your aesthetic in such a blatant, unapologetic, You can be sure that mainstream media don't want to hear it unless you've got a legal case on the go. And even then, that's mostly so they can report on it objectively. The giant's money means more than your livelihood, it's classic capitalism really. And even then, you'd struggle to have a case - due to lack of resources, lack of copyright laws in fashion and many other hoops that independent artists simply can't jump through. 

It's Not a Gift it's Theft

When discussing this online within the community, Diane welcomed feedback or input into the situation as she'd seen it happen a million times before, but this time it was personal. She was met with responses like "You should be flattered!", "They must really like what you do", "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!". But it's not imitation is it, it's theft. They came into London subcultures, took what they wanted it, and sold it to the world as their own. Sounds like a common occurrence throughout history if you ask me. 

Although these comments are well meaning, let's really break it down into something a little more 'real'. 

  1. Was Diane credited once throughout this whole process? No
  2. Was she ever thanked of offered compensation for her ideas which have been developed over decades of self exploration and passion? No
  3. Did she even get an invite to watch them rip her off? No
  4. Has she received any extra press, or clients as a result of this? No
  5. If she did get extra clients as a result of it, would they be looking for authentic Diane Goldie or a Gucci Rip Off? You know the answer.

So What Now?

Well, it's safe to say a lot of us are pissed off. (See just one here) So many of us know how it feels to have our work ripped off by bigger names. I'd list them, but how much room do I really have? There's a whole field of search results for you to disgust yourself with. Theft is the new black, ladies and gentleman. It shouldn't be excused, and if we can't afford to take legal action then we need to take action with our ethics. Even most fashion bloggers refuse to admit or take part in vital conversations like this through fear of tarnishing any possible ties they may have with larger brands in the future - but I can tell you, they're counting on that. 

No one is asking you to go out and burn your Gucci handbag, or your Zara t-shirts. Not at all. What we are asking for, is solidarity. Recognition that artists no matter how small, have value. And that's what Diane has set out to do: 

After a lot of deliberation, Diane Goldie has chosen to stage her own exhibition. During London Fashion Week in September, she will be hosting the exhibition which is based on the exploitation of "us little folk".

"I’m going to paint portraits of my friends, many of them creatives themselves, wearing my aesthetic to cement it in art and in time as my art. There will be a #fuckfashion show and other art events focusing on raising awareness and kicking back. This is about the tribe coming together and saying HELL NO, WE MATTER."

- Diane Goldie

The Vaults Happening was just her training ground, but now she's getting serious.  

See Diane's original post here.
See more on Diane's history here.


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