Hey friends! Today I want to talk about supporting independent artists. If you follow me on Instagram (you better! But if you are failing at life, my handle's @gnomecat) you will see I'm a big supporter of independent artists. I love supporting people who are making a living of their creativity because that is a dream of mine I keep tucked away. I love the uniqueness of owning things you can't buy in a cookie cutter form from your local department store. I love having things tailored made to my style of nerdiness. Really, Instagram is a great community to support independent artist. At this point, I probably follow more artists/shops than I do actual people. I love being a part of this community!
I buy an array of different things from independent artists--screen printed tees, jewelry, zipper pouches, crafting notions, book swag and, of course, enamel pins just to name a few. Really, just anything that catches my fancy and is in my price range. It just feels so awesome to support an up-in-comer as well as add some unique swag to my always evolving style. And if I'm being honest, these are some of my most treasured purchases.
I can understand shopping in the moment; not researching a product before purchasing. We are ALL guilty of that. But as always, the more you know. I understand how hard it can be to make a living off your crafting wares. It is hard as hell. I personally do not mind paying a couple of extra dollars toward an item I love opposed to cheaping out and supporting a horrible chain who are stealing from these hard working individuals.
Which is exactly what happened.
I'm going to use enamel pins for this example. This is a very small example of the pins that have been blatantly copied and played off as if they were not designed by independent artists who have copyrights over their designs. This is wrong, oh so wrong. These individuals have worked so hard and do not deserve their hard work being ripped off. And this is only a few. I see new cases pop up weekly and it is maddening! Maddening for those artists and maddening for consumers. I actually own a few of the independent artist versions of pins that have been stolen. I'm super thankful I didn't get taken by these obviously knockoffs because it could happen so easily, especially if you weren't as immersed in the independent artist world or an Instagram addict.
My plea is to avoid shopping at places like Zara & Francescas. Even Rue 21 has been accused of this (as much as it breaks my heart!). I feel the dilemma here. Rue 21 is one of my favorites. Do you boycott them completely or do you limit your shopping to only certain merchandise? It's such a gray area and I think that is a moral area everyone will need to define for themselves. Personally, I solemnly swear I will not buy any pins from those stores. I'll probably still buy clothing but I will continue my support of independent artists world wide. Will you make this stand with me?