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The theft of ideas and creative work in the fashion industry is rampant. How rampant? conducted a survey on the subject and with over 400 respondents, here is just how rampant…

Has a potential employer ever stolen your work (designs, forms, ideas, etc…) during the interview process? 

Amazingly, 75% of respondents claim that their work or ideas were stolen during the application/hiring process. This is more amazing considering that a lot of job functions do not require examples of creative work to get a job.

To be fair to employers, ideas in the fashion industry are borrowed all the time; almost every line starts with a shopping trip. It is likely that the actual percentage of job seekers who had their work or ideas stolen is actually much smaller.

Have you been stolen from more than once? 

Almost half (47%) of respondents claim that they have had their work stolen more than once during the application/hiring process. Based on a lot of the comments from this question, many fashion industry professionals see this as a necessary evil and/or just part of the game.

What is the financial impact on job seekers?

While the responses were all over the place, individual job seekers claimed to lose as little as $50.00 from employer theft all the way up to $500,000.00. All in all, the average amount of unpaid consulting (the dollar value of the work/ideas stolen) was about $25,000.

When applying to a job, how likely are you to apply when a prospective employer requires that you submit samples of your work with your initial application?  

The impact of this sort of employer theft is that over 44% of fashion industry job seekers will not apply or are less likely to apply to a job listing that requires work samples with the initial application.

Chris Kidd is the owner of,,, and

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