I think about it in terms of how you are marketing.
Lets say you are sculpting your first baby and you don’t have a real newborn in your house at the moment, photos are awesome but they are not in the round, there is only so much you can do when you are sculpting in 3D. So you grab your favorite reborn kit Levi and you use it for reference, inspiration. Meaning you are sculpting with your own hands (no mold making from the original, no 3D printers and 3D software imaging of that sculpt).
You make a version of that baby, but you make it your own. I don’t consider that a rip off or a knock off.
Where you get into trouble is marketing it as Levi. You could say, this sculpt inspired by Bonnie Browns amazing work. I would check with the Artist before I did to let her know. This is a personal decision.
I consider a fake reborn a mass manufactured doll, made in a factory, painted with an airbrush and stencils, made by the thousands and marketed at a “reborn” doll. It is not. It is doll. What they are doing is tricking people into believing they are getting something they are are not. Worse is when they steal the sculpt buy making a mold of the real thing and producing it without permission.
It’s like putting a heat set vinyl swoop on a cheap pair of runners and selling them on eBay as “Nike”
You are not getting what is advertised and you don’t have permission to do so.
If a company made a pretty sculpt, mass manufactured them, weighted them, made them look realistic and marketed them as “Sweet baby doll Rosie-buns” and used their own photography and the marketing didn’t take a free ride on our work, I wouldn’t be thrilled but at least that doll is in its own lane.
Baby Alive is a great example.
Doll collecting should be fun, you should have all kinds of fun babies that make you happy. I think what happened is these knock off sculpts showed up, they took over the market with false advertising, stole sculpts, photos, videos, even our descriptions on selling platforms and delivered something that was terrible. “Reborn” started to become synonymous with the fakes and it started to stain our reputations not only that they oversaturated the market with a doll that was 89.00. People were disappointed, got sick of them, figured all reborns were a scam, and we were scammers.
The thing about this art form was that these dolls were made by people. Not matter how good a painter you are these babies take time, most of our dolls are lovingly and carefully made, paying attention to small details, always trying to make the next baby better than the last. No matter how many painters showed up that year we were not over saturating the market, we almost couldn’t keep up.
Some custom artists had waiting lists a year out.
You had so many choices, we were all painting the same sculpts but we all had our own style.
All of that started to get lost with the knock offs.
I don’t think all is lost.
It just isn’t the same.