Now first and foremost let it be known that I am a Capitalist! I love ingenuity and the ability to make a market for yourself and others (who benefit from jobs being created). It, however, is never alright to simply "steal" from another person. I don't care whether it's a clothing design, a computer code, a blueprint for a widget maker, etc. Theft is theft, no matter (as my grandmother used to say) how you try and "church it up."
Just today it's come to my attention (from friend, designer, and social arbiter extraordinaire, K. Cooper Ray over at Social Primer) that one of his fellow designers, Kiel James Patrick, who is based out of Rhode Island, has had his signature creation (a fantastic nautical rope belt that really must be seen) both knocked off and off-shored by none other than the iconic American brand, Land's End. Apparently there has been a firestorm of blowback towards Land's End within the social media space regarding this issue, and from what I can see, rightfully so! KJP has developed an item that is not only appears to be amazingly well designed, thought out, and executed, but that took literally years to fully develop and employs no less than 20 American workers for both sourcing of materials, and hand crafting. Land's End, being opportunistic (and I have to say...seemingly Machiavellian) took this KJP design for themselves and outsourced the manufacturing to China. This is not Capitalism! Capitalism is making it on your own steam...the inspiration, the innovation, the refinement, and ultimately the manufacturing and selling. To stand on the shoulders of giants is one thing, but to already be a giant and try to squash the little guy is nothing more than despicable. My family and I have bought from Land's End in the past and I'm sure that that they will sell a ton of these fantastic belts, but to not at least approach the designer and offer a design fee or a percentage of sales is about as Draconian as I've seen in business. We, as an American people (and yes, corporations are made up of people) are better than this, and for most of my life I thought such storied brand as Land's End were, too. Sorry to see that I was wrong!
Sorry Land's End...mark me as an ex-customer.
Until Next Time...
Belts Photo Above used from http://www.ivy-style.com/