Something for personal use

It’s one thing to be inspired by something but given this sometimes gets brands like Zara and H&M into trouble, it’s best to make your ripoffs for mostly private use. Whatever that means as it’s a grey area but one that keeps somebody on the safer side of things. Whatever the inspiration, be it folk clothing (from other countries and communities though that also leads to other problems) or actual brands (there’s the risk of plagiarism) it’s best to have it for personal use.

Not necessarily any better but for most of the part, keep your plagiarism (and cultural appropriation if you will) to yourself and better still if you’re a big nobody. As for children’s clothing, the biggest inspirations are Victorian era and folk clothing (from Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, Uganda and Cameroon) there’s almost already a good solution to having to change clothing a lot is to devise something that nearly fits all sizes.

As in one that can accomodate a wearer’s changing proportions over time. Something like a dress being reused as a blouse (especially if/when said dress’s based on an existing blouse). Conversely speaking, it’s possible to do an abaya or sarafan from basing them after existing dresses (with some modifications). Heck, you could do a Filipiana blouse from copying or modifying an existing pattern. Not necessarily easy.

But necessarily possibly if one’s willing. Now as for copying from brands, whilst copying from other communities and countries can risk some degree of cultural appropriation (or appreciation depending on individual), this kind of plagiarism’s fine for as long as it’s completely private. You could copy and modify dresses from the Fairy Gothmother brand but get away with it for as long as it’s not sold.

Same for copying stuff from higher end or better known brands like Vivienne Westwood, Unica Hija and Bayo. Both of them occupy a grey area where these exist as personal expression but also risk not giving another credit so it’s something one has to do with care should they insist on using their influences at all.

Some influences

19th and early 20th century toddlers’ clothing: From what I read, both boys and girls used to wear roomy dresses if because having to make pants for the former just wasn’t there yet (until adolescence) and that roomy dresses provided a lot of room for growing up (something that endures whenever the child reaches 6 years old or something). Mind you some Uganda kanzus and Middle Eastern and North African thobes (and actually some Bamileke robes) are like this for little boys so. Heck I could always make a pattern using one of my blouses which would fit a toddler well enough onto its pre-teens.

Manchurian Clothing: Given that the qipao and the like aren’t native Chinese clothing, they might as well be properly termed Manchurian. It’s close to what Mongolians wear to special occasions like folk events. The earliest qipao, from both surviving photographs and garments themselves, was a roomier garment and one that also endure a changing body. Plus it’s got a slit high collar with buttons fastened at the edges so it makes it easier to fit a toddler into and something that accomodates it as it grows.  (Especially when based on one of my existing blouses.)

Russian Folk Clothing: Another influence that can be made from scratch. For the outerdress (the sarafan or sundress) it can be made from tank tops with ribbons being used to hold onto the blouse/dress. As for the inner dress, it’s optional as it’s more useful in colder climates and said inner dress could either be a smaller blouse or one made from an existing pattern. Given that it’s the Philippines and kind of tropical, it’s sensible to only go for the outerdress (for now).

She dresses too young and desperate

Usually that means she wears skimpy clothing or whatever is popular with younger women. But in Samuel Richardson’s context (as he’s an 18th century writer) that meant dressing in pink and yellow ribbons. There’s virtually nothing wrong with dressing a little younger than expected or pink and yellow. It could be one’s personal style though an ageless personal style’s a better option. At least with the latter, it’s something that’s cultivated over time and though influential, it’s also very personable.

Now as for things like crop tops, let’s give a hand to Indians for making crop tops actually classy and folksy but because they’re behind it for a really long time so they can pull it off without being outdated. As for shorts, I’m personally of the opinion that these are fine for certain occasions like certain sports (football/soccer, running and playing certain games but to be real careful about it). That’s as to minimise further embarassment.

While it’s possible to pull off trendy or timeless outfits, with some clothes like shorts there’s a time and place for those. Even a popstar would dress more modestly when going out for groceries or business meetings so that proves my point.

Fashion designers and tailors

An inevitable relationship though some people do the same things themselves to varying degrees. Like say you’re that proficient in sewing and you know how to draw enough to sketch outfits with. I won’t be surprised if some fashion designers are also tailors themselves (there could be more straight men in the fashion industry making clothing as tailors and sometimes draw in their spare time). Nonetheless it’s an inevitable relationship of sorts.

A seamstress/tailor might be inspired by a fashion design (or any good-looking outfit) and actualise it in whatever manner with the closest enough fabric to it. (Same for cosplayers when you think about it, when it comes to budget and availability.) A fashion designer might inspired by an outfit and then sketch its version of it (no wonder plagiarism happens in the fashion industry). Similar things can be said of hatters/milliners and shoemakers.

The fashion designer has a relationship of sorts with either one of them and may’ve even done hat or shoe making at some point so there’s that.

Merger between brands

Sometimes these happen to better compete with other businesses. Sort of like what Disney did with Fox or Time with Warner Brothers or Bayo with Unica Hija though some of these mergers don’t last long. Time eventually departed from Warner. Ad infinitum for some other businesses either because it didn’t jive well with the other business or that the costs was way too much for the other to handle.

Some mergers work either because those who initiated it managed to handle it better, worked well with the other business (Unica Hija and Bayo) or that one’s lacking in the other though the same can be said of mergers that failed. As for failed mergers, it’s got to do with too high expectations, irreconcilable differences, bad approach and stuff.

But a successful merger can and will happen though who knows if the one between Bayo and Unica Hija may stand the test of time or not.

That’s (not) rich

Like I said, what’s considered wealthy and luxurious changes whenever poorer people gain access to those. At some point, lapdogs were specifically noblewomen’s pets before becoming spinsters’ pets at least from the ancient to early modern times and even up to the early 20th century. Same for cats in Japan at some point. Hunting used to be a largely aristocratic hobby in Europe as with card games.

Currently in the developed world, being rich isn’t just a matter of having the nicest things (cars, houses, clothing) but also having access to certain hobbies that can’t be easily replicated. It’s going to be costlier to get a horse and care for it than a smaller one like a cat or dog. Whilst 3D printing technologies now enable somebody to know how to manufacture a boat on the go.

Once it becomes common practise, expect rich people to go for more luxurious ones like say owning a personal theme park which some celebrities like Michael Jackson have already done before. Or something else altogether.

Some hobbies she did

Here are some of the hobbies upper class women in the Renaissance indulged in. These included needlework/embroidery and sewing in general, hunting (some women still do it today and in other places, they use cats and dogs to hunt common pests like rats and mice) and card-playing. Card-playing also became a popular spinster activity just as lapdogs went from being the noblewoman’s pet to the spinster’s pet at least in the 18th up to the early 20th century.

To be fair, at least in the Western world so far hunting at some point was more of an upper class pastime. If upper class women also hunted and sewed, then at least some of them were far from that lazy and wasteful. It’s not that poorer people didn’t hunt, they did on some level and arguably still do among some rural communities in Africa and Asia. Especially when it comes to vermin.

In the same manner, some people sew by hand whether for business or for personal use. Though it can be argued that since times have changed, it’s parsimonious that whilst some communities still hunt for vermin and food (especially hunter-gatherers) and some rich people hunt for recreation the hobbies of the rich changed once the poorer ones gained access to it.

But keep in mind that hunting at some point in Europe became an aristocratic hobby so it’s unsurprising that even noblewomen enjoyed hunting (though it’s not that poorer people didn’t hunt either). Hunting was as much of a nobility’s pastime as board games, card games and tennis were so they’re far from lazy.