I've been doing a lot of posts about prints lately...... one being this about Anthro prints showing up as off brands at TJ Maxx and Marshalls, and the other was learning about Dutch Wax Prints. Another type of print I've recently learned about is Otomi, mostly through Jenni of Gnome Lover posting about it (check out her Otomi bathroom here - LOVE).
Over the summer, Anthropologie offered up this cute little number below. It immediately made my wishlist. I was hoping to hold out for it to go on sale, as I usually do with Anthro stuff. But, I know that sometimes popular items sell out quickly. However, I was really surprised when I noticed ALL sizes were suddenly out of stock!?!?! That seemed odd to me. So after some digging, I saw a rant on Anthro's Facebook page about this dress. Many people complained that Anthro was betraying the skilled artisans who made these textiles by reproducing it themselves. And asking why couldn't they get the fabric straight from the artists? Because of this, Anthro pulled the garment from it's site and stores.
Having been in the handmade jewelry business for so many years, this is not a new argument to me. There are always stories of copycats and/or corporations stealing ideas from artists. While I do not agree with it, I also think it's a product of the world we currently live in. We are constantly bombarded with images and ideas and have such easy access to anything and everything via the internet. Sometimes I think it is almost impossible to come up with an original idea. It's happened to me many times..... I'll come up with a jewelry design and/or using a material in a new way and I get so excited. Then, I do a quick search on Etsy only to find that someone has already thought of that idea! In this case, I'm not saying a company purposefully taking an idea is ethical, I am just saying that I try to stay pretty neutral when it comes to this stuff because it can happen innocently too. To be honest, I was bummed I no longer had the opportunity to purchase this dress. The model is even wearing the Seychelles Departure Wedges I have - look how cute! And what about Anthro's Luisa Embroidered bedding set (similar Otomi embroidery)? It is still for sale and no one seemed to make a stink about it (that I've seen anyway). How do we pick on some things, but not others. It says it is imported, but do we know if it is from the artisans in Mexico?
In my usual manner, I wanted to investigate further. And also had not given up hope of sporting a cute Otomi print (I was wondering when Jon's next business trip to Mexico would be). I ended up finding that designer Mara Hoffman used the print in 2012. She used both a white and black background, and printed (not embroidered) the colorful animals onto the fabric. She made many styles of dresses (one pictured below), swimsuits, and separates in the print. Mara is a designer whose pieces are often sold at Anthropologie and it's sister companies Urban Outfitters and Free People. So after finding this out, I wondered if anyone called her out on using this print. I have not been able to find anything on the subject.
I set out scouring eBay to find a Mara dress of my own. I didn't think I'd be able to wear it until next Summer, but I was pleasantly surprised when I got it and it was a stretchy jersey material. The top on mine is a wrap like design which I am not crazy about. I wore mine backwards too because I like the print layout better. Out of the many colors, I choose red to accessorize with. Similar to how I have shown to tie button up shirts and tees to accommodate the bump, I plan to tie cardigans as we move into Fall as I did here.