We all have that one thing that we’re really good at, but there are some people who are especially talented.
Unfortunately, there are always going to be people who are willing to take advantage of that talent, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Two decades ago, Redditor Dressdesignerdrama started a tradition of designing wedding dresses for the women in her family as they became engaged.
But when her latest cousin got engaged and had skewed priorities, the Original Poster (OP) worried that it might be time to end the tradition.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for not designing my cousin’s wedding dress even though I’ve design everyone else’s?”
The OP had started a bit of a wedding tradition in her family.
“I (29 Female) have designed all the wedding dresses for my cousins, siblings, and aunts for the past decade.”
“When my eldest sister (35 Female) got engaged at 24, she asked me to design her dress since I’m passionate about design and she always loved my style. Her dress was a knockout and everyone loved it.”
“Ever since, whenever one of our relatives announces their engagement, they ask if I can design their dress for them.”
“I’ve always said yes because I absolutely love doing it. It’s just so much fun.”
But when one of her cousins became engaged, the OP had reservations.
“On to the issue, my cousin (23 Female) is getting married next February.”
“She called me up to see when we could meet so she could share her ideas for her dress and I can start designing it.”
“I do not like this cousin at all, her parents spoiled her beyond rotten.”
“I decided to still meet with her, though, to see if anything has changed since she’s now an adult.”
The OP felt her cousin had missed the point of the personal design.
“She immediately showed me some photos of wedding dresses by Sara Burton and told me she wanted something exactly like the pictures.”
“I tried to suggest a change in neckline or color, and she shut it down and told me she wanted exactly that dress.”
“I told her I would not be making her dress as I love designing clothes that embody their wearer and suit them, not rip off other designers so she can look fancy in a knockoff.”
The family was torn about the incident.
“Some of my family, and especially her and her parents, are beyond upset and have been blowing up my phone because I’ve ‘broken tradition and my baby cousin’s heart because she’s been looking forward to having me make her wedding dress for years now.'”
“I feel kind of bad, but at the same time, she’s taking the fun and bonding out of designing a wedding dress.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some found the cousin to be incredibly entitled.
“NTA. She’s not asking you to design a dress. She’s asking you to help her save a buck on a designer dress.”
“Besides, you can say “no” for any reason you want. Your family is not entitled to your efforts.” – bamf1701
“This wasn’t a cousin feeling grateful about having a designer in the family, and how gracious it is for that designer to take time and energy out of their day to create a CUSTOM dress, and showing even a modicum of respect by asking.”
“This is an entitled brat, demanding a service she feels entitled to.”
“What really bugs me is that even if OP sticks to their guns here, I doubt her cousin will actually learn anything from this. They’ll simply brush it off as a mean family member.” – The_Nitram
“NTA. They’re not entitled to your work, especially if they’re asking you to rip off another designer.” – LauraLels
“Yeah, she definitely is an entitled AH.”
“Just tell her that since she knows what dress she wants to go ahead and order that. You design out of the kindness of your own heart and only to those who appreciate the effort.” – Derwin0
“Ripping off someone else’s work is horrible, and that’s what she wants you to do. She’s not asking you to design her a dress, she’s essentially just wanting the expensive dress without the expensive cost.”
“If she’s willing to calm her entitled a** down and talk with you like an adult and be willing to work on a design with you, that would change things.”
“I’d tell her and her parents that her asking you to rip off someone else’s designs is absolutely wrong but that you’d be willing to design a dress especially for her.”
“What’s the point of a custom gown if it’s just gonna look off the rack?” – Magellan-88
“First off, YOU are the one who started the tradition, and it’s up to you whether you wish to carry on the tradition or not. Next, the tradition was that you help DESIGN a dress, and this cousin did not wish to have a dress designed; she already had her vision in mind and simply wanted a seamstress.”
“Being a seamstress is neither your passion nor what the tradition actually is. The tradition is not you sewing the dress, it is you designing the dress with the bride’s input. Logically speaking, as other posters have pointed out, your cousin is in fact the one breaking the tradition because she’s not asking for a dress design, she already has her vision and wants her vision made for her.”
“Personally, I feel like it’s okay to point out to other family members that everyone else in the family has a considerably different attitude in general regarding OP’s help with the dress design. It seems everyone else asked and the cousin acted like it was a done deal. That’s kinda not cool and I feel like people should be informed when their behavior is problematic.”
“Entitled people get away with their behavior because it works for them. Notice that her parents aren’t saying anything about her missing out on the bonding part of the experience, she’s just upset you’re not making her dress. The point of it was never just ‘making the dress;’ the point was you love designing and your other family members wanted dresses you designed.” – fairyduck
Others agreed with the OP about not wanting to create a knockoff design.
“I would just say, ‘If she had wanted to talk about a custom dress I would have been interested, but since she has treated my offer of a custom one-of-a-kind dress as entitlement to demand my labor for a knockoff, and is leveraging family members to harass me, I am no longer interested in gifting her my efforts.'” – oliviamrow
“You can just say, ‘I’m a designer. I design custom, one-of-a-kind dresses based on the personality of the wearer. I do not create copies or knockoffs of other designers’ hard work. She wanted me to create a cheap copy.'”
“Further add, ‘That’s not what I do, and frankly, it was insulting of her to even ask me to make a copy. If she wants to get with me and we can come up with something unique and custom for her, I’d be happy to.”” – Mopper300
“You never offered to make exact replicas of designer dresses. You offered to maybe design a dress for her and make it. These are two different things. If the knockoff isn’t exactly perfect (i.e. availability of specific trim, etc.), she will have a fit. It’s best not to deal with her at all. NTA.” – babcock27
“Along with being a potentially problematic area legally, you consider knocking off the work of another designer to be unethical.”
“I wouldn’t want to leave the door open to working with her after this, either. She’d be difficult, would complain about your design, and probably keep pushing you to exactly duplicate the couture gown.”
“In other words, you extended the same gracious offer to her that you’d given to other family members, but she rejected it and demanded a knockoff and that has made it impossible to work with her. I wouldn’t leave any wiggle room.” – Leading-Knowledge712
“Cousin broke the tradition by demanding a knockoff instead of asking OP to DESIGN a custom dress. The tradition is for a dress that fits that person worked out between them, not an already designed dress.”
“NTA.” – drakeotomy
“NTA. Play stupid games, and win stupid prizes.”
“Sounds to me like it’s more like she broke tradition by not wanting you to design the dress, she just wanted you to make her a cheap knockoff, likely on your dime. I don’t know anything about Sarah Burton, but a quick Google search revealed that she made the wedding dress for Kate Middleton, the freaking future queen consort of England. Something tells me her works aren’t cheap.”
“It’s one thing if she came in with ideas and examples of things she likes and doesn’t like. It gives you a structure to work with.”
“You aren’t being paid to do the work. You are free to work with whomever you will, for your own reasons. Even if you were being paid, you are allowed to reject clients at any time, for any reason. Better she hears this now, rather than the day before the wedding.” – Andravisia
The subReddit could empathize with a bride having a design in mind for her future wedding, but in that case, the solution was simple: buy a dress that matches that design, rather than force a family member to steal the design work of another artist to save a few dollars.