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Fake Fashion: Would You Buy a Knockoff?

Fake Fashion: Would You Buy a Knockoff?


(source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/14/fashion/14Scavenger.html)

They say there’s nothing new under the sun, and while that might be the case, can it justify the amount of knockoffs we come across in the fashion industry? Or is copying actually the mechanism that keeps the fashion cycle going?

There’s a fine line between inspiration and copying and unfortunately, lately we’ve been seeing more and more of the latter. With Fashion Weeks being held twice a year in the major fashion capitals of the world, the whole industry has sped up. It no longer takes months for new, custom-made garments to appear and copyists don’t have to sneak in to exclusive fashion shows to be able to later sketch the designs from memory. As a result, fast fashion replicas of the newest trends often appear in stores sooner than their original versions. This leads to designers losing profit as copies dilute the market and make originals less exclusive, hence less desirable. Fashion houses are forced to come up with something new – and the cycle starts again.


(Dior vs Mango, source: http://www.fashionfave.com/designer-vagy-sem-luxus-darabok-es-fast-fashi…)

The ethical question is obvious: should you buy a knockoff from  Zara or H&M (two retailers well-known for producing cheap replicas of runway designs) knowing it is nothing but a copy of someone else’s idea?

(Celine vs Zara, source: http://www.fashionfave.com/designer-vagy-sem-luxus-darabok-es-fast-fashi…)

The problem is, there aren’t too many options out there. Even if you value intellectual property and view fashion as a form of art, chances are you don’t have the budget to buy original Chanel or Dior garments. Especially now, when we don’t tend to invest in clothes and wear them for many years (decades, even), but rather get something new and trendy every season only to be thrown out by next year. Honestly, if you were given a  thousand pounds to get something right now, would you spend it on haute couture or would you go on a shopping spree in Primark?

For ordinary, everyday buyers, high end fashion labels are hardly accessible. But does that mean that the 99% of people who don’t want to blow two months worth of rent on a pair of shoes don’t deserve to be on trend?

Knockoffs might be annoying, but they probably won’t make big fashion houses go bankrupt in the near future. However, a real problem arises when retailers copy small, not yet known, emerging artists or designers. Zara is notorious in this respect – the brand has been accused of stealing the work of over 20 independent artists (for more info visit shoparttheft.com), such as Tuesday Bassen’s. In these cases you don’t even know you are buying a replica – and unless these designers decide to speak up via social media (and manage to reach a big enough audience) or file a (very expensive, tedious and often useless) lawsuit, you probably never will.


(source: http://www.cosmo.ph/style/trend-alert/zara-responds-tuesday-bassen-rip-o…)

Whether you decide to stay away from replicas to the best of your knowledge, or wear your H&M or Asos knockoffs with pride, is all on you. You might choose the golden mean, and support young, local fashion designers by purchasing their relatively cheap originals and fill the rest of your wardrobe with fast fashion pieces. Neither option is the ultimate best or worst, the issue is a lot more complex than that – but definitely worth thinking and talking about. 

Lover of sunsets and coffee, queen of procrastination and a real granny at heart. 
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