Does famous designer read CRAFT?

Marrin-Boots 200803031118 In the first issue of CRAFT (edited by my wife, Carla Sinclair) from October 2006, Tina Marrin wrote a how-to article about knitted high heel boots (left).

Last week in Paris, famous designer Hussein Chalayan showed his brand new knitted high heel boots (right).

Do you think he reads CRAFT? (Via Book of Joe)


  1. They look nice but without some kind of support straps I wouldn’t wear them. ‘Course I’m not a big fan of heels anyway.

  2. What sort of rights do CRAFT contributors retain for themselves, if any? This seems like an important question for Tina Marrin. I hate to see a generous, creative person ripped off by a clearly not-so-creative, for-profit designer. All monetary matters aside, Marrin should ask for a public apology and attribution.

  3. Sure looks like a ripoff to me. They’re even in the same color scheme. I like the CRAFT ones better anyway.

  4. While blatant rip-offs of ideas are a bummer, there is a post just a couple below this about someone selling knitting plans for “Batgirl gloves” on etsy. Nobody seems to have beef with that. (Including me, for the record.)

    The difference, I suppose, is that one scenario seems evil and rip-offy, and one seems cool and homage-y, but at their heart, aren’t they both someone making some dollars off someone else’s idea albeit on different economic scales?

  5. I think they are both (batgirl gloves, boots) good things. Tina Marrin wrote a how-to, enocuraging people to make the boots. I hope Chalayan credited Marrin and CRAFT as his source of inspiration for the boots.

  6. RobotFoggy,

    I’d say that in addition to Mark’s points, a major difference is medium and representation. The Batgirl gloves were a knitting pattern to reproduce an existing and accepted cultural icon in knitting- which is a very separate subculture from comic book fans. It’s primarily a knitting directive, with a nod to comic book fandom.
    The shoes, on the other hand, are a rip- they’re the same thing, in the same style, and possibly even passed off as original work (don’t know- haven’t read the article- don’t care enough about fashion/knitting to read it:P).
    So no, I think that while neither of them are entirely original, one deals in good faith and one deals in plagiarism.

  7. Seems like a great case for You Thought We Wouldn’t Notice. This is at worst artistic theft and at best a sleazy move, depending on how MAKE projects are licensed.

  8. Well, to be fair, the designer ones are much, much better-executed. That 4 stitches/inch gauge is awful-looking at the top.

  9. For runway shows, often very specific footwear is created. Perhaps Chalayan had the maker of the knitted boots make some for his runway show. Or maybe he had them made by someone who was inspired by CRAFT.

    If you look at the detail shots on, you’ll see the boots the jackets as well. They appear to be woven out of the the threads (chenille?) from the jacket (a la Chanel’s famous braid)

    In fashion, designers steal from the people, and the people (seamstresses and sewists) steal from the designers!

  10. Actually knitted high heel boot shave been around since at least 2002 where one could spot them in various fashion boutiques in London. Saying that, a designer under Chalayan could have very well spotted the Craft version and reproduced it with a few tweaks – happens all the time in the fashion world…

  11. Well, a good designer should read *everything*, especially things like CRAFT in which present designs they’ve whipped up out of pure passion. As for whether or not it’s a ripoff… I say “so what”? Attribution is a tricky thing in design– a commercial rip-off should be taken as unequivocal validation of an awesome idea. The intertubes make it easy for savvy buyers to research their favorite designers’ influences– CRAFT should expect more hits from Paris, Milan, etc.

  12. Some people love to fantasize unfairness: a higher authority steals ideas or things from those who are down there, without any sort of claims. When I first saw this blog post, I smelled this is coming already.

    I think a lot of you who are designers or artists had experiences when you designed or made something and people said that they look like or asked if they were inspired by some artists or some works.

    I have my haircut asked by a few people whether I am inspired by an artist. I never notice his work before people telling me about him.

    Trends are sometimes inevitable enough that they inspire people to do similar things during the same period. Otherwise, why would BB get so many many many posts about steampunk objects? They must be ripping off from each other.

    It’s great some famous designers made something that looks like yours after you had made it. Great, that’s an acknowledgement that you are ahead of your times. Besides, a scandalous exposure like this blog post will catapult your fame skyhigh.

    As for the comparison above, in terms of Craft, I have to say that the one on the right has better Craftsmanship.

  13. Fashion designers have been making a lot more noise in the past couple of decades about copyright and “lost revenue” due to low-priced knock-offs (not trademark-infringing fake merchandise, but knockoffs marketed under other brand names). Slate ran a pretty good piece on this in 2006:

    Here’s the crux of the argument made by the author, Henry Lanman (should appeal to Creative Commons proponents, methinks:

    “It is also fair to ask, though, whether fashion’s current freewheeling system helps even those it sometimes hurts—that is, whether those designers who are occasionally copied are also themselves frequently copiers—and whether this open system ends up producing a more robust creative market than could exist in a regime with stringent design protection.

    Given the unusual role played by status and exclusivity in fashion, this may actually be the case. Kal Raustiala, a law professor at UCLA, suggested in the New Republic Online that, because much of the appeal of high fashion for those who are able to wear it is the mere fact that others can’t, free copying may not be a bad thing for the industry. As Raustiala put it, “Once a style ends up on ordinary suburbanites getting on the 5:45 to Asbury Park, fashionistas want nothing to do with it. Indeed, they’ve already moved on—to the next look.” The fact that cut-rate manufacturers can freely copy designs, the argument goes, reduces the time it takes for those highbrow designs to show up on the 5:45, which in turn makes early adopters move on to the next new thing. And the quick repetition of the cycle benefits all in the business.”

  14. CVR’s comment #15 and the Slate quote suggest that fashion constitutes an active Creative Commons system. Since there is no copyright in fashion, and both large and small producers participate, all the elements are there: We have an attention economy of fashionistas and their followers who encourage rapid turnover and innovation founded on a “range of creative work available for others legally to build upon and share”.

    In that content, it is very interesting that some people here have the perception that Hussein Chalayan did some kind of harm to Tina Marrin if in fact Chalayan ever saw that issue of CRAFT. It would seem rather like we have an example of Martin Hardie’s point: “When one examines closely just exactly what sort of ‘freedom’ is ultimately to be had within [Creative Commons] licenses, one is quick to discover that they are primarily set up as tools meant to feed directly into corporate co-option.”

  15. Mr. Chalayan, this is my lawyer, Mr. Dewey, of Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe. He wishes to discuss your use of my footwear design…

  16. Hmmm, I am a dude (and NOT the kind that fetishizes women’s shoes), and I’ve seen a lot of knit footwear before. Possibly the CRAFT piece was an influence, but I’d put more than even odds on it having nothing to do with it. The shape of the boot is different, the gauge and tightness of the knitting totally different, but I’ll agree that the color design (“grab-bag”) is similar. They’re a lot more different than, say, two skateboard shoes from different companies. Like Kid #13 says, so often, similar-looking things just happen to be made coincidentally.

    I also thought fashion was one of those “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” industries, where of course originality is prized over merely refining and improving, but the latter is just what it is, and people don’t get on either “plagiarism!” or “IP violation!” high horses. (Unless you’re talking knock-offs, but those are mass-marketed fakes, not designer pieces seeking their own independent recognition.)

    But at minimum you can celebrate being a few years ahead of “haute couture”!

  17. The shoe on the right makes me think heroin chic supermodel. The one on the left makes me think leprechaun. Both valid lifestyle choices, but utterly different fetishes.

  18. If anyone still interested in this topic,

    Hussein Chaglayan is a Turkish origined designer, which I don’t really like.

    But, knitted footware is still very common in rural parts of Turkey. Mostly everybody buys one from a vacation trip or a village bazaar in some time of their lives. Some people like to hang them on walls as an otantic decoration.

    And for the colors, red, yellow and green are traditional colors in south east parts.

    I am leaving up to you, does putting a heel on 1000 year old anatolian knitted shoe is surely a rip of, or are there so many people coming up with new ideas that, ideas started overlapping?

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