The real meaning of "Haute Couture"

What is Couture?  This term is so widely used these days that most likely regular consumers misunderstand the meaning of it.  Haute couture refers to custom made clothing that is made out of expensive material, with elaborate designs, and by the best seamstresses, usually with decades of experience.

The term Haute Couture was adopted by Charles Frederick Worth, a French designer, in the 19th century. He wanted to protect his exclusive designs to be copied by other designers.  This protection to piracy is currently enforced by The Trade Union of Parisian High Fashion (in Paris) but it is not reinforced in the United States.  This is why many ready-to-wear clothing includes the word "couture" at the end of their name.  It is possible that these clothing lines want to be publicly viewed as high fashion, but they do not meet the qualifications.  Most of these called "couture" clothing is seen at mall racks and not specially made to a clients specifications.