How Not To Respond To Criticism

by Erin on April 18, 2008

Butterick 6015

Has everyone heard about the Butterick 6015/St. Louis Fashion week kerfuffle by now? If not, I will give you a precis.

– St. Louis recently had a Fashion Week. (They sent me the release and a gazillion large jpgs. I don't really cover fashion shows, so I didn't post about it.)
– A blogger (who asked me not to use her name) did look at the photos, and noticed right away that one of the dresses was line-for-line a copy of Butterick 6015, aka the Walkaway Dress. See it here?

Butterick 6015 on the runway

– The blogger tries to find out who the designer was that submitted such an iconic dress to a fashion show.
– She finds the designer, Ashley Dayley, and talks with her. Ms. Dayley doesn't seem to think there's anything wrong with just making a dress from a vintage pattern and submitting it to a show.
– She posts all this on her blog. In her post, she gives Ms. Dayley the benefit of the doubt, calling her "young" and "enthusiastic".

Now here's where the story gets interesting — the last three comments on that blog, before the post was taken down, were from anonymous "friends" of the "designer", calling the blogger out for posting about this. They were so nasty that the blogger took down the post.

Dumb. Don't those "friends" know (or doesn't the "designer" know) that the best and ONLY thing to do when you've done something dumb is to take your lumps and own up? Why not say "I didn't know?" Why not say "I won't do it again?" Why not say (as hard as it is, through gritted teeth) "Thanks for letting me know?"

Instead they decided to wear their matching "I'm a Bully" t-shirts (which are probably pink, with sequins) and harass the person who had the temerity to call them on their misdeeds. The commenters, if they are the designer's friends, were just making her look MORE clueless. (If they're her enemies, they're doing a stand-up job.)

Now, I'm not saying that fashion doesn't tolerate knockoffs. (Victor Costa, anyone?) But a fashion show, especially one that was put on to feature "independent designers" is not the place for knockoffs; it's the place for original work.

The best part is the commenters saying that the original blogger didn't have the right to post the pictures of the show. So … let me get this straight: she can't post images that were widely distributed to bloggers just for that purpose, but "designers" can knock off old patterns and that's just fine?

The best way to fix this would be for Ms. Dayley to issue a formal letter of apology to the show's organizers and post it somewhere public online. Then at least the first hit for her might show her doing something thoughtful and grown-up instead of something clueless.

[On a happier note, Marge of Born Too Late Vintage is turning 49, and is offering 50% off shipping on all items in her store to US and international customers from April 18 up to and including April 24th. On everything: patterns, clothes, accessories … Use the code "49 and holding."]

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