I think that clothing has been a communicative medium (deliberate or incidental) from time immemorial. A chieftan’s robes or a beggar’s rags both send a message, and so did Adam & Eve’s fig leaves. As with other technologies, however, the last couple of centuries of industrial development have increased the expressive potential of the medium — and the opportunities for plagiarism. And, of course, the need to consider legal intervention to protect creators from copyists. . . .
I must add that I was amused by the article’s quoting the sanctimonious concerns of copyists that legal protection might harm creative designers or the industry — talk about crocodile tears! That line of argument says more about the speakers themselves and their use of others’ work (in any medium) than about the fashion industry….