'If you want to be original, be ready to be copied'

  • Posted on
  • By Suzan
  • 1

Last week I received an order from France. I always love to receive orders from outside The Netherlands and often I check where the order comes from. This time I found out the order came right from the buying manager of Decathlon. A huge department store in sports gear. Perhaps the buying manager wanted to wear a Susy kit for her rides. But on Google I saw a video from Decathlon about how they create their cycling collection. And guess what I found; They used a photo from our collection on their mood board.
Well, I have to admit…I had to think twice about sending out the parcel. What if Decathlon would copycat our item in huge bulk orders with cheap labor in the far east??
I am working for 16 years in the fashion industry and I know that many brands copy. Especially the fast fashion brands for the mainstream copycat other brands. The designers of these brands have a huge workload and each season they need to come up with new ideas. Quite stressfull I can tell you, since designers don’t always have inspiration every day. Being creative is not easy and copying is way much faster than creating a collection on its own. They simply don’t have time for it. So they go shopping, select commercial items and copy these. This is why I believe in slow fashion and why I believe in love for the  actual product which is nicely designed, well-tailored and very important, made from high quality fabric so items last more than one fashion season. 
Copying is legally not allowed and you can get huge penalties. A few years ago Hema copied the original Levi’s jeans. Levi’s put them to court and Hema needed to pay them 4.5 million euro. However it’s difficult to proof during court when something is fully copied. I was always told there need to be at least 7 differences. But this no official rule. Court will decide if the item is copied too much or not. The designers know this, so they copy a style for 90% instead of 100%. Is it fair to copy? Especially when the big brands copy the little individual brands I personally don't think this is ethical. 
Copying in Fashion; many brands do it and it's very difficult to fully avoid being copied. Yet there is a big difference between copying or just being inspired by. Every brand needs to be inspired, Susy cyclewear as well. We don’t just come up with ideas. Personally I am inspirited by fashion, yoga and running gear (simply because I find the cyclingwear market not very innovative and boring)

I took a coffee and suddenly I got a big smile on my face. I was told by my previous manager and yet I keep telling myself for many years, ‘If you are being copied (or inspired) by other brands you are doing absolutely amazing’ .It says something about what other brands think of your designs and are looking up to. So apparently this huge department store was inspired by Susy cyclewear!  Even Coco Chanel once said “If you want to be original, be ready to be copied.” 

Thank you Decathlon! For making my day!
I wish you lots of inspiration! My mom just packed the parcel and it’s on its way.

Ps: If you wish to add Susy cyclewear in your collection, please contact me!

Have a great day!

being inspired or copycatted


  1. Matthijs@Detexopleidingen Matthijs@Detexopleidingen

    Tja, best een dilemma. Maar als de massa-merken zich beseffen dat zij toch ook afhankelijk zijn van inspiratie van anderen ontstaat wellicht de idee dat leef en laten leven uiteindelijk voor iedereen het meest waardevol is.

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