1. The replica damages the industry

Why design something new when, the more successful your design is, the more likely your creativity and intellectual property will be stolen, price cut and mass-marketed without you receiving any royalty for your hard work? Whether fashion, music, film, building design, interior design or furniture, shouldn’t you own the right to what you create? If someone takes your design and reproduces it without permission isn’t that theft? And shouldn’t that be prevented by law? Yes, designers love design, but they still have to live. Keep taking away the money and the industry disappears.

“You don’t need to be a mathematician to work out that a designer selling their ideas in Australia is only ever going to reach a certain earning capacity. So it’s imperative that our designers are able to achieve their maximum sales potential and in turn receive their entire royalty entitlement.” Matthew Sheargold

2. The replica harms people

Companies like Fritz Hansen are accountable to human rights issues and therefore to the people employed in their factories. The same labour and human rights laws are less easily policed in factories whose masters are not accountable. Think that’s not the case? Look at the evidence showing the sweatshop conditions fake handbags are made in. Is there any reason to think replica design would be made differently?

“The factories that produce fakes are not regulated yet they try to produce the same product. Something’s got to give. You use cheaper people or you use cheaper materials. There’s no other way. You do the math.” Eames Demetrios

“‘I remember walking into an assembly plant in Thailand…and seeing six or seven little children, all under 10 years old, sitting on the floor assembling counterfeit leather handbags,’ an investigator told me… ‘The owners had broken the children’s legs and tied the lower leg to the thigh so the bones wouldn’t mend. [They] did it because the children said they wanted to go outside and play.’” From Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Lustre by Dana Thomas

3. Real design cares for the environment

Anyone aware of the design industry’s environmental initiatives* knows that they have spent many years and millions of dollars lightening the footprint of their manufacturing and making their products last for a lifetime or more. Rarely is replica design made with any such concerns in mind? And the last thing the world needs is more disposable junk bound for landfill.

“Sustainable design gives an authentic value to the consumer” Katarina Graffman, In culture.

“Authentic design gives a sustainable value to the consumer” ADA

4. The replica can ruin your image

Just like a fake Gucci handbag makes you look cheap, being a company with replica design in your offices says you’re all about cutting costs at the expense of quality. Is that really the introduction you were looking for?

“It’s like having a designer dress compared with one from Woolworth’s. Which one is more impressive when you go to the debutante ball?” Bill Evans quotes (American jazz Pianist. 1929-1980)

“There is always a heavy demand for fresh mediocrity. In every generation, the least cultivated taste has the largest appetite.” Paul Gauguin

5. The replica soon becomes valueless, while the real one becomes priceless

You know how it works. You buy a cheap one. A few years later it doesn’t quite look right any more or it falls apart and next thing you know, you’re off buying it again. And suddenly that bargain isn’t one anymore. Real design is the opposite. You buy it, it looks as good in years to come as it did the day you bought it then, the day you come to part with it you find the buyers lining up on eBay, often prepared to pay more than you did for a design classic.

“Unfortunately, in this day and age, the only way to save money is to skimp on details. That’s where the savings for the knockoff people are – not in design royalties, which, appropriately, are very small.” Eames Demetrios

“I thought I was getting a great deal, but instead, I have wasted my money.” Angela Ferguson, Director, Ferguson Design Studio