Is Imitation the Sincerest Form of Flattery?

Hi everyone.  Recently, a situation was brought to my attention that  I found very interesting and I decided to write a blog post about it, as I very much value your opinion! 

After my shows with models walking with my paintings in San Francisco, LA, New York, and Paris, I noticed another designer starting to do shows with a very similar style of models walking with paintings that match the dresses.  (In this case, not with her own paintings, but in a collaboration with another artist.)  As far as I know, Mariya Milovidova Art and Fashion was the first fashion design brand to set this art & fashion presentation trend in the fashion world, and to present art and fashion together in this style.  I have been doing these shows for years and have presented in this style at San Francisco, New York, and Paris Fashion Weeks as well as LA and several others.  I have to say that initially I was really flattered by the fact that the Bulgarian designer Diana Cholakova was using my artistic performance idea of Walking Art Exhibit in her show and gave it the actual name "Walking Art Exhibit."  Here are a couple shots: (mine followed by hers). 

I am guessing you can see the similarity. :)  I should also mention I met Diana at a two day Rumi Award show event last year that took place in Oakland from December 22 through December 23rd.  Indeed, she and I were nominated in the same category for "The Most Creative Designer."  We both presented our collections on the first day of the event, which was a mandatory part of the presentation for all the selected designers. Personally, I really liked Diana's designs and thought she was one of my favorite designers showing that evening.  That was the reason why I was flattered by the fact the she was inspired by and later used my walking exhibit idea.  At the same time, I found it telling that this designer also deleted me from her social media after my show in LA was getting some buzz. Now I have somewhat mixed feeling feelings about all this.  Where does imitation end and copying begin?  I consulted my attorney and found that in the fashion world, this is an especially tricky question.  Some parts of our work can be protected, but a surprising amount can not.  

I also posted the pics on my Facebook page and to my surprise got an interesting range of very strong reactions (sue her, yours is better, that's not cool, you're a trendsetter, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, etc.) You can read the post here and I would love to hear your comments as well in my blog section :)



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