“They’re not passing on any of the profits for IP (intellectual property) that doesn’t belong to them. If you did that with a movie you would be sued for theft. Without the designers being paid for their work, they will go out of business and all you’ll have left is the Zaras and the Kmarts.”
Perth designer to the stars Lara Kovacevich has issued a stark warning to consumers — support fashion designers before all that is left is “Zara and Kmart.”
Kovacevich, one of the brains behind successful evening-wear label Zhivago, weighed in on the dress-hire debate after fellow fashion designer Kate Watts, of Only One Ashley, recently blasted dress rental boutiques for hiring out her garments for their own commercial gain without her permission.
“The issue is that people hiring the product are stealing from the creators,” Kovacevich explained in a series of Facebook comments.
Kovacevich told AAA it was important for consumers to support local fashion by reinvesting in it, so designers could continue to produce collections.
“Money you are paying to the rental store is not going back to the industry, so the industry can’t sustain itself,” Kovacevich explained. “One dress being rented out 50 times gives the profit of one dress to a designer and the rest of the profit to an outside party — it’s important to support your local labels or they will not survive.
“This is especially true for emerging brands like Only One Ashley that haven’t even begun to pay for their investment before it’s being diluted by rental stores.”
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She added that many stores also use the brand’s imagery without permission, with photo shoots costing thousands of dollars.
“Please be a conscious hirer — ask your hire store: Do you have agreements in place with this designer? Are you paying to use their imagery? And if they can’t assure you, move on to a store that does the right thing.”
Zhivago has achieved international success, having dressed celebrities from Madonna and Gwen Stefani to Danni Minogue, Venus Williams, Khloe Kardashian, Kylie Jenner and The Veronicas.
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Mia Theodoropoulos, who founded hire boutique Something Borrowed in 2012 and stocks big-name brands such as Rebecca Vallance and Scanlan Theodore, says she chooses not to hire out brands’ new arrivals and respected the wishes of designers who did not want their pieces hired out.
“I purchase all my stock directly from hire-friendly designers themselves, or I will wait till a style is at least a season old, so it gives retailers and designers the time to sell through their stock when it hits their racks,” she explained in a statement.