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Buying a Knockoff of My Own Dress: An Educated Roast (actual fire used for Scientific Purposes)

Buying a Knockoff of My Own Dress: An Educated Roast (actual fire used for Scientific Purposes)
so i wake up one morning to a dm box full of lovely friends informing me that one of those mass manufacturer cheap fast fashion clothing sites has recently been advertising my red 15th century reconstruction for sale using my image of me in the

dress

you know the

dress

that if you saw the two-part making series of you will know took over 250 hours to make by hand and that was now somehow being sold for the pretty price of 40.98 aka not even half of what i spent on the materials but the subject
buying a knockoff of my own dress an educated roast actual fire used for scientific purposes
of the obviously lacking ethics in this endeavor shall be discussed none we hear about this all the time artists having their work knocked off without permission left and right and nobody really having any power over doing anything about it or at least if something is done about getting the images or if you're lucky the

actual

product removed it's only a matter of time before the next offender rears its ugly head thus repeating the exhausting never-ending cycle so it is 6 30 in the
morning and i am staring uncomprehendingly at the bright red two-digit number under the

dress

i had spent an entire month and a half painstakingly hand-stitching but that was apparently what the retailer was promising by posting my image of said handmade

dress

and my first thought was well my first thought was how at least they had the courtesy to barely crop out my face courtesy or perhaps cowardice oddly enough i wasn't angry at all for you see i smelt meat and i did what any other cunning
online creator would do when presented with the possibility of fresh juicy content i bought the

dress

it says it's going to take 10 to 20 days to arrive which means it's probably coming from china so if indeed this is not a scam i cannot wait to see what sort of monstrosity deposits itself into my mail room of fortnight from now but of course it was not that simple it is day 20 and no sign of the parcel i am beginning to think this might have been a scam one strongly worded letter to the
company later which i am shocked

actual

ly received a reply informed me that there was trouble with the manufacturing and that the product was effectively on back order which apparently nobody bothered to inform the buyers about but okay my favorite part about this correspondence was the offer to further discount the price i paid this offer was conditional on my keeping the

dress

and not returning it which i found highly amusing because it is not my returning the product that they should be so
afraid of it is what i'm going to do to them when i keep the products that they should be more concerned about so let's find out what happened when the

dress

finally did arrive 49 days later i think this is finally the package so let's see what sort of monstrosity decides to emerge from this parcel here she is in all this is definitely not cotton in all of her polyester synthetic glory here is what is supposed to be a 15th century gown well i have to give them one thing one of the
things i was upset with myself about on the original

dress

was the fact that i neglected to put in a waist seam when i think clearly now the original portrait did have a waist seam at least they've got a waist seam in this we got to go close up on this because you need to behold the full glory here this is literally like worse quality than like one of those halloween costumes you get in a halloween store that you wear for like one night and this is supposed to be billed as like a real
wearable

dress

hold on i mean first of all it's got like literal like wood chip splinters like hooked into the fabric so i don't know if you can see i will try and get as close as i can the quality of the material first of all is the biggest disappointment so what you can see i don't know if you can see but i mean is there a tag in here that tells me what it is but it's okay there is a tag usually a brand that doesn't have anything to hide will tell you exactly what
percentage of the material is comprised of what fiber content this is not even telling you it's not telling you what percent of cotton this is so it could be zero percent cotton and 100 polyester and i can tell you

actual

ly we can go and test this okay so it did

actual

ly catch

fire

which suggests there is some natural fiber material in here and it does smell a bit like burning paper which again does suggest that there is a bit of natural fiber cotton material in here they are not lying about
the cotton however as you can see cotton when burnt will start shredding off into ash that's not happening here in fact the edge has just melted completely back into plastic which means the majority of the fiber content of this material is synthetic plastic basically which is why these synthetics are so uncomfortable to wear because if you i mean just imagine wrapping yourself in plastic wrap that's not very comfortable it doesn't breathe and it's very sweaty so the poor quality
of the material aside we can just take a look at the closer details of this i mean in terms of design they've got this situation going on here which is this strip is attached to one side it's not attached to the other side it's meant to i think mimic the smock that i was wearing underneath the original

dress

which is supposed to be a separate garment not this but the way that this is crafted it's just i mean it just doesn't sit right because this is not meant to be a thing i
mean the trouble with these mass manufacturers is that when they produce clothing they're producing clothing based off of an image based off of i mean someone's stolen instagram picture when designers when artists when seamstresses and tailors and

actual

crafts people design clothes they're designing with the human body in mind not with a pre-existing photograph in mind so the original garments obviously are made for people and they're made to be worn and they're made to be
flattering and they're made to potentially last because they are well crafted and who wants to put craftsmanship to waste so as you can see this this was just not thought through logically there's no logic to having this this thing here if we look closely at the construction the construction obviously it's very hastily done i don't want to put blame on these seamstresses for this because they are probably underpaid and overworked and are working very quickly according to the
demands of the manufacturer so here you've got things i mean this is just out of the package but already threads coming loose you've got threads that haven't been clipped properly so you've got you know extra stray threads hanging off of things you've got things like this neckline happening up here where i mean the stitching is just uneven it's just completely wonkily put on this isn't even a properly finished edge it's just overlocked and slapped on to the bit of
trim opening it up we can see that it is not lined there's no structure to this bodice whatsoever which means it's not going to be very flattering on the figure because all you've got is this single layer of very loose limp stretch synthetic knit material between your undergarments and the world which is generally not the best way to craft a nice beautiful shape on a human figure once again this is obviously working off of a photograph of my

dress

so there's i mean there's no
buying a knockoff of my own dress an educated roast actual fire used for scientific purposes
shaping to the bodice obviously there's no attention to examining a real

dress

let alone a real

dress

from the period or doing the research to study the patterns of

dress

es from the period so they're not going to even come close to something that i have done because i

actual

ly took the time to do the research to figure out what makes these

dress

es the shape that they are and how they behave and ultimately what makes them look like a really beautiful medieval

dress

anyone can cut out a
square of like your airplane blanket and make a

dress

like this another thing i can point out is the length of the stitches is something that you can be looking for if you're looking to identify whether or not your garment is good quality looking at the length of your stitches can also be something very telling because if your stitches are like nine miles long they're turning up the stitch length so they can stitch quicker and get the garments produced more quickly whereas i mean if you
look at a lot of 19th century victorian clothes clothing this is still surviving to us 150 years today the stitch lengths are so tiny they're often just one millimeter in length and that creates a really strong seam the fabric whatever it's attached to is attached so finely and so firmly to itself that it's not going to be unpicked and it's not going to come apart or tear as easily as if you unpick one of these stitches or one of these stitches snags on something as it's more
prone to do because there is more length between each point in the hole than i mean the whole garment falls apart back out to looking at the

dress

as a whole i mean just furthering the point of lack of craftsmanship there are just raw edges that are blatantly just overlocked where you would not see this in a genuinely nicely crafted garment because again stitching can pull once one of these pulls then you just have a raw edge i don't even know what this is i have no words for what's
going on here it makes no design sense because it wasn't thought through logically it was thought through based off of copying a picture and again like right here on the front of the sleeve you've got this horrible overlocking situation happening here with some just casual loose threads because i mean who wants to be neat am i right cool cool so we've had a bit of a close look at this flat but i've got two

dress

forms and i have the original

dress

so let's throw these on some
forms and see what the real differences look like so here we are ladies and gentle folk we've got a little bit of a sizing issue which is no fault of either

dress

this one obviously is supposed to be a retail standard size small which is not my size and of course this

dress

was made for me if you do not know me hi hello i have a severe case of scoliosis that has completely misshapen my upper body and so all of the

dress

es that i make for myself that i finish no longer fit my

dress

form and
no longer fit any sort of standard size of human obviously that

dress

is not going to be made to my weird measurement situation and this

dress

is not going to close as it should but most immediately of course what we notice is the obvious lack of attention to historical pattern cutting which of course is what makes this

dress

this

dress

and this

dress

look like a costume so as you can see they've just gone for the standard bodice waist seam skirt situation whereas this

dress

i based this

actual

ly off of a pattern of some tunics that were uncovered from i'm going to try i'm really going to try scandinavian people hair joltsness greenland and just based on the number and the shaping of those panels draped this shape on my

dress

form so i did the draping myself this isn't obviously a word for word historical pattern but it's based off of the original shapes that would have potentially existed in the medieval period so as you can see we've got one seam coming
here we've got one seam coming here there are basically like 11 panels in this

dress

um in this one we've got front seam we've got back is all one piece so the bodice is only three pieces that's what gives this such incredible shape that's what gives the whole medieval period that quintessential medieval form-fitting beautifully shaped shape so i probably already mentioned that this

dress

i bought for 49 this

dress

cost me about 200 in materials alone this is a wool blend i
needed 11 yards of it so that's even for a wool blend which is cheaper than a plain wool which i could certainly not afford at about 20 a yard plus the yard of silk that was needed for the under sleeve here it was not cheap not even the materials could be purchased for forty dollars like this and then of course additionally this

dress

took about 250 hours to hand construct obviously if you do it by machine it will be cut down significantly probably about a hundred hours maybe if you multiply
that by a living wage well then i'm going to do some math i'm going by a 15 minimum wage and that's like absolute basic minimum just the labor alone times 100 hours which would be a roughly machine sewn

dress

maybe i don't do a whole lot of machine sewing so i don't know is fifteen hundred dollars plus the cost of materials okay if you're going like super budget if you're

actual

ly making this out of cotton maybe you could spend 150 on materials that is 1 hundred and
fifty dollars hello friends this is why i don't take commissions because yeah so that's how much this

dress

hypothetically would have cost at an absolute basic minimum wage i don't even know how you get the materials that cheaply they are using significantly less material there's that to be fair this

dress

probably only

used

about three yards of fabric there's quite a lot involved in this

dress

there's absolutely no silk there's no lining on this

dress

so all this the
silk sleeve lining on this

dress

is not apparent on this

dress

i get it it's a cost saving thing there are no under sleeves on this

dress

either the only additional material they use is this strip of white that's supposed to mimic the shift which i haven't even priced the shift into this because that was not constructed for this project and then of course there are the closures there is the trim which i didn't even factor into that cost so basically what i can tell you is that
making clothes is really expensive clothing is an investment it is something that when it's well made when it's made of decent good quality materials and when it's made to last will last you a significant portion of your lifetime as it did all throughout history so historically i mean i'm gonna go into a whole rant here historically here's how fashion worked before fast fashion before we are literally destroying our environment with the textile industry which is one of the
buying a knockoff of my own dress an educated roast actual fire used for scientific purposes
most destructive industries in the world right now basically the whole point of this experiment was to expose the reality of how much garments cost how much labor goes into things how much the materials cost and the quality that can come out of it versus the concessions that are made in terms of ethics in terms of labor in terms of quality of material in terms of durability of material to get something that is not flattering will not last you but is cheap it makes me really mad so how did we
even get here how did we even get to the point of exploiting people and literally

dress

ing ourselves in plastic that shreds and then ends up in landfills and then destroys the environment where did we go wrong how did people clothing in history before we ended up here and how can we go back there maybe clothing took time there were i mean if we're going before machinery before sewing machines it took time to make because you had to do it all by hand it took i mean everything everything took
time to make from the weaving of the material which was done by hand that would have cost you a lot of money it was so valuable in fact so valuable that even in high fashionable elite like court

dress

ed beautiful silk brocades there's like piecing everywhere on the front of garments just unashamed piecing because fabric especially those expensive silks were hugely valuable and there was no point in wasting them because they were so expensive so your fabric was expensive your labor was
expensive because it took so long to make this stuff obviously i mean the exploitation of garment workers is nothing new garment workers throughout all of history have a unfortunate history of just never really making enough to live just because the amount of time that it takes to produce a single garment by hand is pretty daunting so somewhere along the lines we just lost sight of the fact that clothing craftsmanship is supposed to be an investment and i'm not saying like you know clothing
should only be for the elite because people wore clothes all throughout history all classes of people wore clothes i think we've just become so reliant on the fast paced change of fashion there's so many different styles of clothing that show up every year and then go away the next year like those mullet skirts of like 2012 that are now not seen anymore like where did they all go are they all in landfills surely people are not cutting them up into other stuff because who does that
nowadays it's just not part of our daily routine anymore but whereas if you go back through history you can pinpoint this is 1880s this is 1860s this is 1750s this is the 16th century these time periods have very specific silhouettes because fashion changed at a more gradual rate because people were paying more for their clothing clothing cost money you weren't just going to buy something wear it for two years and then throw it away you're going to buy something wear it until either
it wore out and you cut it up into rags or something or if you are fashionable you cut it up and make it into the fashionable silhouette because the fashionable silhouette always sort of builds on what was before so big large skirts are in fashion this decade and by the next decade people are starting to sweep them up and bustle them back it's all the same sort of starting point of

dress

it's just you're doing different things with the same source material if that makes sense
nowadays we're just like mullet skirts are in one season and then the next season maxi

dress

es are in fashion the next season so it's like how do you turn a mullet skirt into a maxi

dress

you kind of can't you have to go to h m and buy new clothing so much clothing is now out in the world and exists right now so there's no like shortage of garments obviously you know you go to a charity shop but these charity shops don't necessarily keep everything that they're donated
sites like poshmark and d-pop and you know facebook groups of trading clothing there's so much clothing out there there is no reason why we should be producing clothing at this rate so yeah i kind of now feel like i have a responsibility now that there are lots of people following me on the internet for the fact that i do stuff with clothing to pass on this ability to recognize craftsmanship to pass on basic skills for working with clothing whether or not you

actual

ly want to start making
your clothes yourself which is fantastic absolutely do it whether you want to alter clothes that already exist to make them more your style or more towards the present fashion that's cool too to be able to take things from thrift stores and flip them to be able to take a garment that's falling apart maybe take it apart take a pattern off of it and then make a new one that's cool too or whether you're just here to learn how to take care of your clothes to mend things to maintain
them so that they last as long as they possibly can so that you're not getting a hole in your shirt or something and thinking well it's ruined now i can't wear it and you throw it away that's not productive if you read any 19th century sewing manual they go on and on and on about the importance of darning the importance of mending and they they sort of stress into the reader who's supposed to be teaching people because a lot of these are teaching instructionals how to
recognize faint spots in fabric so that rule number one is to darn a patch before it turns into a hole if something turns into a hole it's like what are you doing are you even paying attention to your clothing we've completely lost that that ability to fix our clothes everyone should know how to sew it's not a feminine thing it's not a like delicate floofy thing it's a basic practical technical skill to be able to mend and maintain the things that you wear so that is my rant
that was the purpose of this whole experiment is to hopefully shed some light on what's going on in the garment industry the question now arises of what to do with this and i'm

actual

ly i'm not sure i haven't fully decided it's not getting thrown away i will have to find a way to figure out how to put it to some functional use or i may just keep it on this

dress

form as a little shrine to the poor presumably underpaid poorly treated person who had to make this it makes me sad
okay so here's the thing i am not a bespoke

dress

maker or tailor fashion designer or small business retailer i am a historian doing one-off reconstruction projects for learning

purposes

not

actual

ly selling the items in the stolen pictures the things that i post online are not products that you can go and buy from me so having images of my work taken and

used

while morally a bit insulting doesn't

actual

ly harm me as a business in fact arguably it has benefited me but what if you do sell
the work that you post online and large-scale mass manufacturers claiming to offer the exact same product at a fraction of the cost

actual

ly does harm your business well you could hypothetically avoid this entirely by not posting pictures of your work online but in today's visual internet culture this is understandably severely not an option people don't buy what they can't see what they can't drool over and picture themselves having in their lives and making them into the pretty
instagram picture your instagram feed your facebook page your youtube channel whatever the heck the tick tock is the free content that you create and produce becomes the most direct way for you to reach and appeal to an audience on a personal level and eventually becomes the most cost-effective means of advertising to your highly engaged potential customers brief interlude on the workings of online business aside i am unqualified to be giving legal advice should you be one of the hundreds of
artists and designers targeted by this single site alone who have also had work stolen and potential harm done to your business i personally am not planning to take legal action because it is extremely time consuming and i as the sole proprietor of my business and probably better off directing my energy towards creating new things instead of chasing down corporations in a probably futile and extremely expensive international legal battle this is precisely what gives these companies the power to
continue stealing people's work and perpetuating unethical labor practices to continue producing utterly useless pieces of

actual

garbage that don't provide any

actual

value to anyone's life the independent but highly skilled

dress

maker working on her dining room table cutting her prices in an attempt to compete with mass manufacturer and thus not making her rent is generally not going to have the time or money to continually fight these battles however angela jarmin of fancy fairy
wings and things is one of the rare artists who

actual

ly does pursue legal action against design infringement and just recently one of her wing designs has

actual

ly been straight up stolen from a kardashian despite the fact that she literally posts video tutorials teaching people how to make her wings without violating copyright so she is currently taking legal action against this so i will put her instagram and youtube channel down below if you wish to follow along with the process and outcome
of that but whereas artists and designers themselves don't seem to have had much success in the past in putting a stop to the theft and mass distribution of their designs there are people who can ultimately change the behaviors of fashion manufacturers consumers mass manufacturer only functions to serve demand and if the demand for these products is there that is if we continue to pour money into this industry by purchasing these products they're not going to go away and the problem is
going to perpetuate but how are we supposed to know how are we supposed to distinguish which brands are genuine and are going to send you the high quality and preferably ethically made item pictured on the website and which brands have just lifted the pretty pictures off of instagram feeds only to send you a cheap

knockoff

that is unflattering and not made to last this involves doing a bit of research unfortunately you could go a bit more in depth by searching for product and site reviews on
youtube on blogs and in the general google sphere and one must be aware of which reviews are affiliated with or sponsored by the brand in question and how that may or may not affect the review more simply you can start by just having a look through the website itself a branch that is proud of its manufacturing process because it doesn't have anything to hide will usually make these points known about in the about or faq page you can also use practical thinking what scale is the brand
operating at do you notice them churning out new designs every week or month do they stock products indefinitely or are things produced in smaller quantities that eventually sell out completely large scale big operation companies tend to be constantly putting out huge quantities of new products and compensate on quality labor ethics and environmental impact in order to keep up with demand hence the term fast fashion look at the prices and do a quick bit of math cost of materials aside how many
times can you fit what you believe to be a livable wage into that price and do you think that is enough hours needed to make a garment of that sort of complexity do we really need to be

buying

affordable new

dress

es every month if it means that the unnamed unknown person who made those

dress

es is overworked and underpaid finally we as consumers can learn to recognize appreciate and demand craftsmanship this is admittedly something that's going to take a little bit of training as this is not
something we are told about and are meant to be concerned with but as we saw during the examination of the

dress

earlier there are certain things that we can pay close attention to the quality of the materials

used

and look at the labels if you need to what percentage of the fabrics

used

are comprised of synthetics you can look closely at how the garment is put together what the stitching looks like whether or not it's lined and how the pattern cutting flatters or doesn't flatter the
human body the subject of fast fashion of craftsmanship in the fashion industry and how we as consumers can curate a stylish wardrobe without being so destructive or going completely bankrupt is an extensive topic that i shall certainly be exploring further soon for now i need to go and figure out something to do with this

dress