The copycat clothing culture has gone INSANE. What once began as stores and designers taking inspiration from one another has now turned into near identical copies, and even the idea of parody bootleg fashions are becoming a trend.
Having worked in close quarters with both high street and luxury fashions, I have noticed on my ventures that every store has a version of the same thing … or even the EXACT SAME THING at very different prices. This is where my debate begins. I am torn.
On the one hand, I am partial to high-end styles and innovative design being available at a more affordable price point. But on the other, having been at University with some insanely talented designers and given the opportunity to interview even more through publications, I can’t help but feel that there is an abundance of unique design ideas that are going to waste.
This has me questioning: are these copies really fair? To anyone? To the designers who came up with the original concept, to the consumer with conflicting views of style, quality and price tag, or even to the budding graduates wanting to make their mark on the industry – only to discover that what sells, is copies.
I get it. In order for fashions to trend, high street stores do need to take inspiration from runway shows, top designers and popular talent within the media. That’s where us folk get our style inspo from after all. But as of late more and more full-blown, head to toe copies are being produced – rather than just pulling a colour, or a pattern, or a cut.
‘It’ shoes and bags are definitely on the rise – you can see dupes (minus trademarked logos of course) cropping up EVERYWHERE. On the hunt for a new pair of trainers last weekend I saw not one but two like for like copies of different style Balenciaga trainers in more than two different stores. Gucci’s now infamous chevron matelassé style bags can be bought minus the GG in practically every other high street retailer – the shoulder bag, the bum bag, the lot.
But is it the designers themselves who have contributed to our love of fake? Logo’d clothing is MASSIVE again. Gucci even took inspiration from 90’s/00’s street wear brands like SSUR with their line, Comme Des F*ck Down and Brian Lichtenberg with his parodies of Balmain and Celine, to make their very own no shame fakes – pieces emblazoned with the logo Guccy.
Is this lack of cease and desist orders a sense of mutual acceptance? Are designer’s happy to merely take recognition for their work now? After all, copies do come with fame and acknowledgment.
Unlike music, drama, literature and art, fashion is very hard to protect by copyright laws. Company names, slogans and logos can obviously be trademarked but because the majority of aspects that make up clothing are classed as functional this often prevents them from being accepted by the law. And, lets face it, the turnaround in trends these days is so fast, is there really any point wasting all that time trademarking little details for them to change in a few months time?
I don’t know why copycats are standing out to me now more than ever. And I am by no means saying that they are a bad thing – I have a few designer dupes of my own in my wardrobe. I think what concerns me is that we get the same offerings in every store. When the line between inspiration and copy gets more and more blurred, it makes shopping and hunting for that ‘perfect piece for you‘ a lot less fun.
I honestly don’t know. What do you guys think? Have you started noticing this more like I have? And do you think our access to so many of these samey styles is a good or a bad thing?…