Fashion brands have to get their inspiration from somewhere, which is why most houses employ researchers to go out in the world and bring back interesting fabrics and objects.
And while that can lead to some really interesting fusions, if taken too far, it can lead designers open to accusations of cultural appropriation.
Take Dior, for example.
Last year, the French house brought out its pre-fall collection and people in Romania noticed a striking similarity between their clothes and Diors – particularly in the small region of Bihor.
Diors version is selling the coat for £26,000; none of the proceeds or credit has been given to the Bihor community.
So, Romanian fashion magazine, Beau Monde, has decided to get its own back.
Its launched a campaign to set the record straight and has created a new fashion brand with the help of native Bihor craftsmen.
Enter: Bihor Couture.
For years, big fashion houses have been using inspiration from local cultures, it says on Bihors website.
Lately, this has turned into a global phenomenon, with names like Tory Burch, Valentino or Louis Vuitton presenting original traditional designs from all over the world as new items in their collections.
And right here in Romania, there are multiple examples. Just last year, Dior included a Romanian jacket from Bihor in their couture collection. And sold it for 30.000 euro.
While it makes sense for inspiration to happen, we think its a bit unfair that nothing returns in terms of money or even PR to the community thats struggling to keep traditions alive. As a result, these traditions are dying.
So, in Romania, the very first steps are being taken.
The idea is to allow fashionistas to buy authentic traditional clothing for a much cheaper price while making sure that that money actually goes to the local craftsmen who made the clothes.