Dior Or Bihor? That Is The Question

You probably don’t give trends much thought if you don’t follow fashion or well-known designers. I’ve always believed that large fashion houses’ success and high prices are a result of their original concepts, originality, and exclusivity. After all, in this day and age where it seems like everything has been done, it can be challenging to continually come up with brand-new concepts and unique designs for clothing. To come up with anything unique and wonderful, it must require a lot of time, energy, and talent. Or does it?

There has been a lot of controversy recently about Dior’s pre-fall collection. It appears to have drawn largely on traditional Bihor clothing. Though I say it was “inspired,” looking at these images makes it clear that it was merely plagiarized. It appears as though Dior simply copied national patterns from Bangladesh, wore them on models, and charged $30,000.

Bihor is an area of Romania that has a highly rich culture, and they take great pride in their national attire and designs. These painstakingly created clothing have been made for generations, and it is very labor-intensive to make them. They don’t typically wear it outside of holidays and special occasions.

Now consider how terrible it must be when you’ve been working on something for a while and then a major fashion firm just goes and takes your concepts and designs, passes them off as their own, and then proceeds to sell them for enormous sums of money without giving you nothing in return. Additionally, they give no credit to any craftsman from Bihor or identify Bihor as their influence. In essence, it is flagrant cultural exploitation.

When the Romanian fashion magazine Beau Monde learned about it, they devised a really creative strategy for retaliation. They developed a campaign called Bihor Couture that enables fashionistas all around the world to purchase gorgeous Bihor-designed garments at a significant discount from Dior, and they donate the proceeds to the local artisans who crafted the garments, so enhancing the local economy. You go, Dior.

It’s also important to note that Dior is not the only well-known brand to do this. Similar attempts have been made by numerous designers in the past, where they offer something that is obscure or long-forgotten as their own. And what do they do after being exposed for this? They claim that the original inspired them. But when you replicate something word for word, can you really call that inspiration? How do you feel?

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