Today I want to talk a little bit about the difference between copying and inspiration because there’s definitely a fine line between the two. This fine line can often be the reason why people are scared to take inspiration from people, especially in the age of social media where everyone is free to scrutinise and criticise your actions from behind the protection of their computer screen. I often see bloggers and vloggers with a bigger following complain about people copying their ideas and I can imagine that this is so infuriating. If I were to create a series on YouTube, for example, and put hard work into the logistics behind it for someone else to totally steal the idea without any acknowledgement of it being mine, I can’t even imagine how I’d feel. But that is straight-up copying. You can’t really view it any other way. But if, continuing with this example, said copier was to acknowledge that they took the idea from me (this is totally hypothetical by the way, I don’t even make YouTube videos), would that be taking inspiration rather than copying? See what I said about the fine line?
The photos included with this post are actually what gave me the idea for the topic of discussion because I was very much inspired to create this outfit by the blogger, Samantha Maria, someone who I always find myself taking inspiration from as I have spoken about before in my post on styling red and pink. I saw her wear a similar outfit during her trip to Dubai- you can see how she styled the outfit here. Because I put together this outfit based on the inspiration I took from Sammi and because the outfits are similar, I thought this would be an interesting sort of ‘case study’ to dissect the differences between taking inspiration and copying stylistically.
Comparing my outfit to Sammi’s, they look extremely similar. You might be surprised that I’m actually wearing totally different pieces by different brands to Sammi. But I think even if I was wearing the exact top and skirt as her, this still wouldn’t necessarily be a case of copying. I think that’s because I’ve styled the outfit to make it my own.
Sammi’s outfit very much gives me ‘summer in the city’ vibes, whereas mine, I think, is much more ‘summer on the beach’. This, in part is to do with the locations that we both wore these outfits in but it was also a conscious decision on my behalf to wear this outfit on holiday so I could change it up from hers a little bit. I also think the colour schemes of the outfit are significantly different considering we’re both wearing black and white polka dots and denim. Sammi has gone for a monochrome colour scheme whereas I have added some colour into my outfit. I mainly did so because monochrome isn’t really my style. Another way in which I made my outfit my own is by using a natural brown coloured straw bag rather than a black one, as Sammi did. Again, this was to ensure it had those summer holiday vibes and to change up the colours of the outfit a little bit. Styling my hair in a loose bun rather than in a messy ponytail and hoop earrings also changed the outfit to one that is a little bit more relaxed and holiday appropriate.
‘Making it your own’ is probably the second most important thing in order to cross the line from copying to taking inspiration, the first most important thing being acknowledging the original source of inspiration. Acknowledging that you’ve taken inspiration from someone removes any tension from the situation and, usually, is flattering for the person who has inspired you. People who copy usually are trying to make something that is someone else’s look like their own, so by acknowledging that this thing, whether it’s an outfit idea or anything else, isn’t your own, you remove yourself from that category, in my opinion.
Taking inspiration is such an important thing for me creatively whether that’s for my blog design, photography or, usually, my style. I’ve recently got very into Pinterest and it has been providing me with so much inspiration that hopefully will help to improve my blog content! I have boards for inspiration for each season of the year, a moodboard, a board of imagery that I love and one for photography inspiration (that mostly consists of Francessca Woodman’s photos after seeing an exhibition on her work at the weekend). So far, it’s been really positive for me creatively and is also a really good way of pinpointing (see what I did there?) where I’m taking inspiration from so I can go back there for more. If you’re interested in seeing what’s inspiring me, you can take a look at my Pinterest page here!
I hope this post has showed you how beneficial taking inspiration from others can be and maybe helped you to figure out how to do so in a positive way for everyone involved! Sammi actually shared a photo of this outfit from Instagram on her stories as part of her #sammisstylediaries which was really nice because it kind of proves that you can be directly and obviously inspired by someone without causing offence and maybe even flatter them in the process.
I really recommend following Sammi (I mean, if you aren’t already) because she is killing it this year, especially on YouTube! Here are some links to her different platforms:
Skirt- Pull & Bear (old, similar here)