They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. That sentiment is something that we can whole-heartedly understand and agree with. The problem these days, is that it's getting harder and harder to tell the difference between imitation and just plain old copying. As a product manufacturer of any kind, the dream is that you will release one of your designs; it will garner some attention and hopefully some accolades. Then, that exposure will eventually turn into sales and give you the means to keep doing what you love for a living. For many of us in the design world lately, that dream has turned into something to be cautious of, or even fear.
In today's day and age, when you put your work out into the world, you never know whose hands it's going to land in. As designers, manufactures and even retailers, it's our responsibility to each other and to the fans of our work to engage in ethical business practices. Mainly that means not stealing each other's ideas, which only creates market place confusion where you can't tell who is the original designer of a good.
For the most part independent design firms, like us, play nicely with each other. We love a good dose of healthy competition but in the end we all support one another. The rest of the design world isn't always as nice though. Some of the bigger chain stores are actively muddying the waters. They are stealing from us young designers and directly knocking off our work, sometimes just paying off the designers when/if they get caught. It's a sad practice, especially when you think about the design budgets some of these brands must have. The question is: why not just collaborate with the independent brand or up-and-coming designer? Why take from us in hopes that we won't find out?
At Bend, lately we have spent a lot of time thinking about and dealing with these issues. Like you, we are huge fans of interior and exterior design in our personal lives as well as our professional. It's disheartening to us that we now have to second guess the originality of products that we purchase. For us creating and supporting original design is the most important thing we can possibly do. It's worth it to surround ourselves in authenticity as much as possible. When we are buying something known to be fake or mimicking another original design, it's hard to be proud of it.
We are writing this for a couple different reasons. Firstly to voice some frustration. You can imagine that as designers, this can get pretty infuriating to deal with at times. Second, to reiterate that as far as our collections are concerned, our promise to you is that we will always be individuals and unique. On the off-chance that we are paying homage to a classic silhouette, like the Peacock Chair for example, we will always give credit where credit is certainly due. Lastly, to say thank you for your support and the support you give to original design of any kind. It's important that we all stand together and go the extra distance to seek out originality. Whether it's with a follow on Instagram or the purchase of a chair, we need to stand together to make the world a more beautiful and original place.