Exposed. Wedding Gown Designers Are on to Kanacca…Part II. Second City Style Fashion Blog

August 13, 2007 • Fashion


(L-R) Lela Rose website photo, Kanacca’s Lela Rose photo

Since our post on last week about Kanacca and their
questionable copyright infringement tactics there have been some interesting developments.

We have received many comments overwhelmingly favorable about our reporting. As to the others, we are sorry we burst your bubble, but come on…even
if you are on a tight budget there has to be a better way to acquire a fab
wedding dress than to buy a designer rip-off (like second hand or vintage).
Contrary to what some may believe, wedding dresses do not cost $50 to produce.
Yes, sure there are considerable markups, but the materials alone are
costly, not to mention marketing, overhead, etc. Besides, at the end of the day
it is blatant stealing.

Yet, would a potential customer of a bridal salon with say a
budget of $4,000 really be wooed by a $300 knock-off? I asked Annalisa Austin,
marketing director of Mon Amie Bridal Salon in Costa Mesa, CA about this. “Well maybe not all [would buy a knock-off], but knock-offs cheapen the couture designer’s brand. A
bride doesn’t know the quality she will receive and by the time she realizes
she received complete garbage she runs to us and it’s our job to perform magic
to get her a dream dress in very little time.”

Photo on left from Vwidon website. Photo on right from Kanacca webiste

Echoing these sentiments, Saundra Farr, Director of U.S. Sales and Operations for
bridal gown designer Augusta Jones said, “it has not come to our attention that
any of our potential customers have purchased one of these knock-offs.” She
recently contacted Kanacca to remove the designer’s photos immediately. They have, but the site remains operational.
“I‘ve heard of a store that purchased one of these $200 copies and hung it next to the
$5,000 designer original to show what complete crap these dresses are.”

We contacted some of the other wedding dress designers found on
Kanacca’s site and were surprised to find that they had no idea this was happening until we
alerted them.

Oscar de la Renta "style"

Designer Lela Rose said, “I was not aware of this site until told of
it by this reporter (from Second City Style) today.” When asked if she aggressively
enforces her copyright she continued, “we enforce our copyrighted name but
have yet to go after someone for using a design. This site is such an egregious
infringement though that we will now.”

I then asked Lela Rose what advice she had for smaller, lesser known
designers whose work is also being stolen and she remarked, “on one hand, if a
knockoff is a riff on your design, it can be flattering. When it is outright
stealing, it is a completely different story. To maintain our quality and
image, an infringement such as this one cannot and will not be tolerated.” She
plans to take legal action immediately.

Jane Wang, a designer from New York City (photo to left) has only been in business for
10 months yet photos of her gowns found their way onto Kanacca’s site. Unfortunately, we were the ones to tell her. “
I didn’t know about
Kanacca’s web site until my conversation with you yesterday. I am very upset.” She continued, ”I would
like to stop this illegal action, but am not sure what I can do in this case. I will contact my friends in China to see if
the law in China could lock up these criminals, but as far as I understand
China has too many copyright problems. I fear they are just unstoppable.”

So, what can be done to help these designers? Second City Style spoke to an expert in the area of trademark protection for answers. According to Steven Gursky, a partner in the New York office of the law firm Dreier LLP who has represented numerous designers in their anti-counterfeiting efforts,  "it would appear what these people are doing is actionable.
Designers should not have to accept such blatant and direct thievery of their
designs and copywrited photographs." He went on to say, "designers would be wise to look for
remedies under Chinese and U.S. laws. There is a great likelihood that there
could jurisdiction in the U.S. because the site is interactive (one can order online). If
these dresses are sent to or distributed in the U.S. there is a better chance for jurisdiction in the
U.S. as part of the companies’ enforcement efforts."

Kanacca‘s website

-Lauren Dimet Waters

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17 Responses to Exposed. Wedding Gown Designers Are on to Kanacca…Part II. Second City Style Fashion Blog

  1. sarah says:

    Sure ask designers what they think?.. wonder what they are going to say?… Ask an expert if he can tell the diffrence umm yes thats what a knock off is… a cheaper version that looks like the same thing but isn’t. So many other companies do this ( search the net i know of 7 just off the top of my head)
    I’m going to tell you a little story…
    18 months ago i found the perfect dress in a magazine. I knew i never could affored this 2,000+ dollar dress but i kept it in my drawer. My future husband would see me looking at it and would promise me one day i would have it… i knew it was a lie but i always thanked him for the thought… for 18 months that picture was there and i knew almost 2 years and no wedding i had to deal with what i had… i went to many stores looking for a cheap dress… i cried when i saw the first dress they pulled out it looked like something a maid would of wore except satin. My wedding came crashing down… i even remember telling everyone i didn’t want a wedding anymore. Then i found kanacca i showed them the dress i wanted and im my budget! i swear i almost cried of joy that day. Did these top designers care that i was poor… no. When i showed the picture to places that sold dresses did they care? They laughed! I don’t expect a diamond out of this kanacca dress but i’m happy if it’s plated silver and shiny.Regardless i know it will at least resemble the dress and when i see it i’ll let you know how i feel. All i know is if they send me my hopes and dreams in that box i give them all my blessings. If the designers win there will be no more hope for the poor brides… but a sheet with holes to call thier own for $300. Truth about designers if they can sell it 10 times what it costs to make they will charge it.

  2. Claire says:

    I am on a very low budget for my Wedding, I have 3 children and my partner is the only one that works. For our Wedding we have 4 adult bridesmaids and 2 Flower girls, the dresses I wanted for the adults were £250 each, I do not have that sort of money, plus I know that it does not cost £250 to make a dress, my best friend’s Mum made some beautful dresses for my friends wedding using top quality satin and they cost no where near that much, the designers add quite a bit on. I ordered one dress from Kannaca first because I wanted to check the quality and let me tell you, it was fantastic, it even had a built in bra, I payed £50 for it and in my opinion the quality may not be quite on par with the original version but it is pretty close and at £200 cheaper was well worth it. Like the girl before me said, I am willing to compromise on a bit of quality to have the style of dresses I want, after all why would I want to spend a £1000 on 4 dresses for other people especially when they are only going to wear them for half a day? I would buy my Wedding dress from them also but I already have it, I got it for £85 from ebay brand new and the quality of that is better than some of the designers dresses I have looked at. At the end of the day as soon as people mention the word “Wedding” everyone quadruples their prices from Venues to Designers and in my opinion it is the designers that are ripping everyone off, the more famous a designer gets the more money the dresses cost to buy. Kanacca has been a god send to me and many other poor Brides.

  3. Princess Zippy says:

    So if you aide stealing, because you want something you can’t afford -so you’re happy – when clearly you have no business getting married in the first place it’s okay! Live within a budget! What if you have more children you can’t afford, do you rob a bank?
    How you can be a happy bride, knowing you are wearing a dress whose design was stolen and no renumeration or consideration for the original company or designer, is beyond me.
    The next time you are shopping at the grocery store, by all means stuff a filet minion down your pants and your childrens’ pants, because you know – you want a special meal that night to be happy.

  4. sarah says:

    lol zippy… you just don’t get it…
    Let me put it very simple…
    if i ask a florist to make an arrangment that looks like a specific arrangment in a magazine… IT’S NOT STEALING…
    go ahead.. tell the cop!!! PLEASE
    Diffrence between stealing a bank and copying a style…
    i don’t know why i even try … you just don’t get it…
    See sweety there is laws against stealing food from a grocery…
    There is laws against using a copyrighted name and selling a shirt WITH that name on it… because your fooling the public by saying your that designer…
    once again…
    lol it’s cheaper to me i’d deal without the little LEPRICAN
    Here is an article zippy you can complain about the “royalties” & “stealing” and what not…:
    “But before you go shelling out the extra dough (and at Cereality that’s not just a reference to food product—it’s nearly four bucks for a bowl for a name brand), be sure to check out some of the knockoffs you can get for a fraction of the price. A helpful guide can be found at the Cheap-Ass Cereal Hall-of-Fame, which will educate you on cereal varieties such as Silly Circles (i.e., Froot Loops) Apple Yos (a hip-hop version of Apple Jacks) and Marshmallow Magic (Lucky Charms). However, if you’re a Harvard student, no need to visit the site. As we’ve already reported, you’re probably already familiar with these brands.”

  5. sarah says:

    hey miss
    Lauren Waters….
    You should really look into REALLY screwing up all poor moms everywhere!…
    lets attack cereal knock off’s…
    and umm
    Lets just do all food knock off’s what the heck… Little kids can deal without some cereal ya know? Since thier moms won’t be able to affored that anymore cuz they got to stick to original brands now…
    Oh you know what else? wal-mart steals some fashion designS. You know when someone spends 50 bucks on a pairt of name brand jeans at the mall just to see someone wearing a similar walmart brand one? making certain fashion not worth money now that poor peopel are wearing them?…
    Yea lets make the poor moms and even kids have to wear original stuff… you know to protect the wealthy designers…
    Man… you got a long war ahead of you…
    hope your happy
    i understood the photo’s on the kanacca site… but they clearly say it’s not the actual dress’s…
    i think you went to far with this article… Top designers aren’t reading your stuff everyday people like us do…
    Know your audience…
    Who’s side are you on?

  6. sarah says:

    okay whoa… sorry
    I read that last post and it sounded a bit mean…
    I don’t mean it to be rude… just making a point =)

  7. Joanne Molina says:

    I am an “everyday person” who chooses to chooses not to support a corporation who steals. I am someone who takes the creative labor and efforts of anyone (rich or poor) seriously because I know that if someone took something that I did and could sell it cheaper because of shoddy materials, underpaid labor or a larger corporate capital base I would be horrified to be associated with something that would be taking the quality and originality that had created my good name or the brand that I struggled to build.
    You don’t have to be wealthy to dress well and women all over the world know that… and they don’t dress well because they had another company duplicate someone else’s work.
    Whether it has been outlawed yet isn’t really the point– it’s the de facto idea that you shouldn’t take credit for someone else’s idea and try and do what’s right, even if it means not having exactly what you want all the time. It’s just common courtesy and a sign of civility.

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  9. Linda Rodriguez says:

    Who cares about designers? I don’t even know what’s on the runway. If they really want to make money market a reasonable dress to a homemaker or a business woman not to a rich woman. I feel very sorry for those people whose jobs are on the line just because a stupid designer cannot make $4,000 dollars on a $50 dollar dress. I my self will purchase the dress at $219 with free shipping many times over because is a deal I don’t care if its a knockoff no one even knows what the real thing looks like. Those designers make their money anyways and they are reason for employee exploitation anyway. Why don’t they have the dresses manufacture in the US? Because it is going to cost them an arm and a leg. So, I don’t want pay for something I will only wear once and put it away to rot. I support KANACCA 100% hope they comeback.

  10. Reality Chick says:

    Are you freaking kidding me? Some of you guys need a serious reality check (not Princess Zippy though, she totally gets it).
    It’s not the designers’ job (or anyone else for that matter) to “worry about the poor brides who can’t afford their dresses”. It’s no one else’s job to look after you BUT YOU.
    If you are that bad off financially, get a better job, change careers, or go back to school.
    If you had been waiting 18 months to get married and you knew you wanted a certain dress – why didn’t you save up for it? Why didn’t you offer to work at the bridal salon part-time? Why didn’t you find a local seamstress to make it for you?
    If not having a certain dress is enough to ruin your wedding, then maybe you aren’t mature enough to get married in the first place.

  11. Cadice says:

    Um your just jealous because maybe you spent 4,000 on a dress or spent 500 on a super simple dress and now you’ve realized we got an excellent deal.. thats what this is all about. Just because someone is SMART and finds a great deal for a decent item doesn’t make them any less of a women. I’ve gone to school to and i teach and i have a masters… i love what i do but this is probably the only time i really wanted something extra special. I bet you are MISS PRINCESS ZIPPY you sound like her… spoiled brats…

  12. Isabella says:

    I don’t agree with companies stealing a designer’s, well, designs. It’s wrong. I have a friend who makes wonderful art, she barely makes any money selling her stuff – lo and behold we found an eBay seller from China who had ripped her art from her website and was selling Zippos and t-shirts with her art on it. Was she making any money from it? NO. As an artist and designer, this is an outrage. Companies such as this should be able to hire an designer themselves. It’s disgusting to steal someone else’s hard work.
    I also do not have a crapload of money. I agree that having a designer dress for cheaper sounds pretty awesome. But stealing someone’s designs is just not cool! I agree that you should ask a local seamstress if she could make you a similar gown, but not a large company. It’s just not fair to someone who has spent their time and efforts on making something beautiful. And yeah, I agree with Reality Chick – if you want that designer dress and you can’t afford it; postpone your wedding to make the money, get an extra job, etc.

  13. Lauren says:

    Why make such a huge deal about this? You claim that these knock offs are so much poorer quality than your fancy designer couture gowns, and no one that has their heart set on a designer gown and could afford it is going to go to Kanacca anyway. You are targeting two separate markets. True, the pictures they’ve posted are property of someone, but who are you to go tattling back to them like a whiny five year old? Are you the designer whos picture was stolen? The person who holds the copywright is the one responsible for protecting it. It’s not just any random person who happens to notice..Tattletale.

  14. Jacob says:

    They say that, when you really want something so dearly, you will do every thing in your power just to get it. Don’t listen what they say…..Kanacca rocks.

  15. lupe says:

    I am abride looking for a dress under 500 and going to a local seamstress of buying it online is no difference to me. As long as i can afford it and love it. its not important if its a jim hjelm gown, or amsale, or any of those top wedding designers, i dont believe in spending four thousand dollars for a few hours, yes its a big day, but a bride will look beautiful regardless of the tag she is wearing ive seen knock offs that are just as beautiful.. I agree i dont agree with kanacca using trademark photos i think they should post pictures of the actual dress that they have made. I think alot of brides or people will be more interested beuase they are seeing the actual work and not some fancy model in a 4k gown….im not a college graduate and if i was i still wouldnt spend four thousand on a dress….i would rather spend that on a vacation or update on my house..

  16. Lauren - Second City Style says:

    We totally understand that many do not want to spend $4K on a dress and are not passing judgment on that. One of my best friends found a beautiful wedding dress for $500, but it wasn’t a knock-off. The point is Kanacca was stealing not only designs, but the actual designer photos. That is shameful.

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