|left, real. right, knock-off|
Few weeks back, FIT did an exhibit dedicated to counterfeits and knock-offs. While not visually their best exhibit, it was informative. I'm not disappointed... you see knock-offs every time you step into a fast-fashion store. Don't need to see it at a museum.
|Anna Sui and Forever 21|
|From the exhibit|
|from the exhibit|
The exhibit had a few informative videos on how to spot a fake, stuff you already know, like sloppy stitching and cheaper materials substituting for expensive materials (pleather for leather, polyester for silk). One of the videos said, "If you paid less than $100 for a dress in the last 10 years, it was a knockoff."
Probably. I've had friends who worked as fashion designers and most of what they did was watch the runways and then get to work knocking it off. And then those clothes end up at F21, H&M, Zara, Hot Topic, and anywhere else. Personally, I don't see a problem with it, as long as the clothing is ethically made. A lot of it isn't. And the world of counterfeits is especially dark, with mafia-types and sweatshops. Seriously, don't buy counterfeits.
|Counterfeit shoe and bag (right) next to the real shoe, bag (left)|
Sometimes I like something so much, I buy the original and the knock-off. Here are two. The first is a textile design (this IS illegal to knock-off) of a delightful cactus print. I love cacti. A coworker wore the below H&M* shirt and my jaw dropped. I then did a terrible thing and bought the same shirt that she has. While not exactly the same print, which would get them sued, it seems really similar enough to be "inspired."I still adore the cacti.
*On its own website, H&M promises to give all its workers a "living wage" by 2018, so do what you will with that information.
|Dress: Something Else by Natalie Wood, list price $$|
Long sleeve t-shirt: H&M, list price $10
|the two fabrics next to each other.|
My next knock-off (a 3D printed knockoff) is my Gareth Pugh ring, which I've showed you guys a million times before. If I could buy this ring a million times over, I would.
|The two next to each other|
For one, the real ring is made of brass and is heavy, while the 3d-printed one is lightweight. The 3d-printed one also has a sandy texture, typical of this production method. The person also didn't get the shape completely right.
Where do I stand on it? I stand with the law here--for the most part, knocking something off--ethically!--is ok. There's only so many shapes we can wear on our bodies. Can you imagine if someone copyrighted the T-shirt? The leather skirt? Or material usage...like leather for bracelets or bones for earrings. While no one's weeping for fashion moguls like Versace and Galliano when their work ends up at F21, people make the case for indie designers whose $100+ dresses also end up at F21. I'd argue that the audience that shops at F21 would probably not be aware of those indie designers in the first place, and chances are, if your price point for a dress is $15, you probably wouldn't be spending $100. Not everyone can afford to spend extra for designer or travel in the kind of circles where wearing designer would actually matter.