Summary of Lessons from Fashion’s Free Culture

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Lessons from Fashion’s Free Culture summary
Stealing, borrowing, copying, mixing are helping rather than harming the fashion industry.


8 Overall

8 Applicability

8 Innovation

8 Style


Since digitization began facilitating copying and sharing, the media industry has been desperately trying to defend intellectual property via copyrights. Arguably, it is fighting a losing battle. In response, Johanna Blakley, deputy director of a media-focused think tank, introduces an industry that is thriving on imitation: fashion. Her TED Talk is impelling and entertaining, but one graph in particular draws her audience’s attention. The chart (at 12:23) shows the enormous profits of the industries without copyright protection and the meager profits of the industries with this protection. getAbstract recommends this talk to those eager to learn how imitation can produce innovation.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the fashion industry benefits from the lack of copyright protection,
  • Why imitation can beget innovation and
  • What other industries could learn from the fashion industry.


The Italian fashion designer Miuccia Prada found a jacket she liked as she was browsing clothes in a secondhand shop. She inspected every detail closely. When her companion prompted her to buy the piece, Prada responded, “I’ll buy it, but I’m also going to replicate it.” In the fashion industry, copying...
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About the Speaker

Johanna Blakley is the deputy director of the Norman Lear Center, a media-focused think tank at the University of Southern California.

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