Internet sales business, whether of food, clothing or other items, has increased in recent years, favoring small businesses and entrepreneurs, as well as other groups of the population such as the self-styled “nenis”; however, the panorama behind the sales includes a long list of challenges and among them stands out plagiarism and Chinese piracy. The issue has been of interest to small businessmen for years, but in recent weeks it has become so important that buyers themselves have expressed their annoyance.
(Heraldo de México).- In early November, Mexican designer Georgina Chávez went viral on Twitter after sharing a thread in which she detailed how her designs ended up plagiarized and pirated on AliExpress, Alibaba Group’s Chinese online sales platform. The consequences, she said in an interview with El Heraldo Digital, are serious, as it implies a bad reputation for Mexican talent, including her eponymous brand, the work of her dressmakers and, of course, loss of sales.
As she pointed out in her viral thread, now many of the potential customers who come across her brand accuse her of selling Chinese piracy, that is, low-quality and mass-produced garments. This despite the recognition that her firm, originally from Chihuahua, has, and in addition to the support of its customers, Georgina Chavez has the recognition of the entertainment world, as Mexican celebrities such as Danna Paola, Dulce Maria and Ximena Sariñana have worn her clothes.
This is how she denounced the plagiarism of her designs.
“It’s not the first time,” says the designer about the plagiarism.
After telling her story and going viral, Georgina Chávez confessed to us that it is not the first time she has faced a situation like this; however, since she started her brand in 2013 she fears for her project, effort and work, both hers and that of her dressmakers, all originally from Chihuahua. And is that before the massification and the scope that a company like AliExpress has, the actions she can take are almost nil; instead, her brand is affected, because the public has come to think that she is the one who sells Chinese piracy.
Despite this, she maintains that this is a more common practice than one might think and that it happens to the most recognized designers and at least in her case the scenario is worrisome, since she has to face several challenges such as recovering the credibility of her image and sales.
When talking about the major risks that arose after the Internet sales platform took his photos, she emphasizes: “They think that we are the ones who are the ones who have to take the photos:
- They think we are the ones stealing the photos.
- They lower sales
- You can’t compete with them
- Many small brands have to close due to plagiarism and piracy.
One of the biggest challenges today, and one that has even been denounced by other creators of various products that they offer for sale on the Internet, is not only that the photos of the designs are stolen, but also the concept itself, and that is where piracy comes from. Of course, when talking about a global context, there is little that can be done legally to register the designs and reduce the negative impact on the firms.
In fact, the fashion designer adds, as a result of the impact of her thread on Twitter, she received a lot of advice, such as watermarking her photos and using the networks to show how each design was made; however, she explains that this is not enough, since even those who steal her material usually remove the signatures and add their own. Regarding the legal aspect, he details that “we are not looking to sue anyone”.
“I had already taken advice from a lawyer and he told me that it was difficult to register the designs because you have to do it not only in Mexico, but in several countries. As a result of the tweet, many people have written to us: ‘look, you can go down this road’ (we want them) not to be using the photos, that would be ideal; I am not looking for, we are not looking to sue anyone, just that they don’t use these photos, so no false advertising with them because obviously they will not get the same dress,” she said.
Plagiarism, a scenario that repeats itself for both dressmakers and artisans.
Of course, the risk goes beyond AliExpress or other sites that may take photos of experts in design and manufacture, because there is also a plagiarism of each garment and in many cases although the costs are cheaper for buyers, the products they receive are either of lower quality or have little to do with the photo for which they decide to buy. In both cases, the response of dressmakers and artisans is always the same: “There is not much to do” and therefore they run the risk of closing.
In this sense, she emphasizes that “Georgina Chávez” seeks to promote slow fashion, “which is the opposite of AliExpress, the opposite of Shein and the joke, the utility of these companies is the labor time; the faster the garments come out, the more they can produce”. On the other hand, with her brand what she seeks is that the designs have been made at the moment by Mexican hands and to avoid having stock in addition to not contributing to fast fashion in which “extra garments” are produced.
With no legal defense and nothing to do; this is how big companies steal Mexican designs.
This is not the first time that Mexicans denounce the abuse of large international companies on fashion and even on the culture of our country, because in addition to more media cases like that of the Chihuahua designer, there is also much talk about the traditional garments made by the hands of indigenous women, who are also at a great disadvantage to prove that much of what is bought on websites is a plagiarism or imitation.
Originally from the Amuzga community in Guerrero, and with the help of her son Vicente Apóstol, who translated the woman’s statements into Spanish, she explained that in her case the problem goes beyond the above, as they even suffer from direct theft by people from outside their community who travel to the state only to buy at very low costs and resell at higher prices.
According to their testimonies, a few months ago a group of people came to the community “and suddenly they gathered several artisans to buy the huipiles and all this, but they bought at low cost and apart from this, they stole several pieces”.
For his part, artist Ignacio Netzahualcóyotl, originally from Contla de Juan Cuamatzin, Tlaxcala, identified as one of the top representatives of ancient loom weaving throughout the country, also spoke with El Heraldo Digital about the many cases of well-known firms that are justified by the inspiration to launch collections that recover Mexican designs loaded with culture and history.
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