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Be Original panel discusses authenticity at Wanted Design
May 22, 2015

Intellectual property, Instagram, and the implications of technology: Be Original America's panel discussion delved into the meaning of authentic design on May 16 at Wanted Design. Moderated by Amanda Dameron, editor in chief of Dwell, the panel brought together Bradford Shellhammer, founder and CEO of Bezar; Gregg Buchbinder, president and CEO of Emeco; and Max Fraser, author and design commentator, to discuss the quandaries and perks of designing in a digital age.

Panelists discussed design authenticity and both perils and benefits of technology.

The panel was held at Wanted Design's Conversation Room.
Panelists talked about what happens when a design is copied: “If that chair gets knocked off so many times,” shared Shellhammer, “ the factory is in trouble, and [workers’] lives are impacted,” and they also addressed “showrooming,” which is when consumers visit showrooms, then bargain-hunt online to find cheaper alternatives, as well as what Fraser called “reverse showrooming,” or sourcing products via smartphone and then negotiating in person at a showroom for a lower price. Brands are taking notice of habits like these, with companies including Warby Parker and BirchBox reinventing the traditional brick-and-mortar concept and moving from the Web to the street. And while Instagram, Pinterest and other apps and sites are changing the way consumers and designers alike source new products, as Fraser said, the in-person experience of visiting fairs, showrooms and shops remains invaluable: “I still like wearing my shoes out.”

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