Friend Friday: Copying in the Fashion Industry

This week we are talking knock-offs. Do you own any? Would you buy some? Is it wrong for designers to ‘borrow’ from one another?

1. Which side do you take… Copycat designs are a way for the average consumer to stay current and wear runway styles without breaking the bank OR Copycat designs take business from the designer and cheapen the value of their work. Explain.
This is a hard one for me to answer, because, honestly, I don’t KNOW designers. I’m not a fashion student, so if I recognize something, as long as it’s not a BLATANT rip-off, I don’t mind. I do DIY projects a lot, and although I try to not recreate, I try to be inspired, which I feel is normal and OK in the fashion world.

2. Sometimes we do things, even if they are unethical or illegal (downloading music for free, watching full movies on YouTube). Do you think it is unethical for a designer to copy a vintage piece, make it current and sell it?
Again, my answer goes back to being inspired rather than copying directly from another piece. I feel like ALL fashion is one big cess pool of inspiration, ripoffs and “borrowed”  ideas.

3. Would you buy an items that is a very well done copy of a runway garment if it fell within your budget?
Yes, and I have.

I am not the consumer Prada, Chanel or any high-end fashion designer is trying to appeal to. I am the middle-class working girl who will NEVER afford anything that costs $1,000. And that’s fine!

4. According to the fashion laws, at least in the US, apparel design is seen as too utilitarian to qualify for copyright protection. Would you think this is detrimental to the industry or beneficial.
I agree that fashion shouldn’t have copyright protection, because it would be too difficult for ANY designer to create anything. But, I still believe what I said above- there is a difference between being inspired and stealing something.

5.  Own up… share the things in your closet that is a knock off. You know those things you got in Chinatown, on the streets of New York, or where ever.
I’ve never been to New York or Chinatown, but I own a few knockoffs:
A scarf from H&M (knockoff of Dolce & Gabbana), Miu Miu platform knockoffs,  Ann Demeulemeester knockoff buckle boots, knockoffs of vintage sunglasses, Anthro necklace knockoff, Steve Madden knockoffs, a pea coat (it’s a military knockoff!) and I’ve seen about seven sailor shirts like this one this season. Plus, I also own a Chanel purse knockoff that I got at a thrift store.


Obviously, I don’t have a HUGE opinion on this topic, because I’m not really in the fashion industry. I’m sure if I were, I’d have a much bigger opinion, but I don’t know if it would change.

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8 thoughts on “Friend Friday: Copying in the Fashion Industry

  1. I know I can’t afford high designer items either!

    Fashion is about inspiration and having your own point of view. Its like art in a way. And you’re right, there is a HUGE difference between being inspired and completely stealing!

    • I LOVE silhouettes from the 50s and 60s, but I don’t think I’d want to purchase an exact ripoff of a vintage dress. But, then again, how would I know?

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  3. Great answers. Isn’t imitation supposed to flatter the original.. I know when someone buys something they saw me wear I am flattered. Just as long as we don’t show up to the same event wearing the same thing.

    • LOL! I’ve purchased a few things because I saw someone else wearing it first!

      I don’t think I’m totally qualified to answer the questions, simply because I don’t really know something designer vs. something non-designer. I can tell the difference in quality, but I guess my opinion comes more from if I can afford it or not. And with the exception of my on-sale Micheal Kors pants and vintage Louis V scarf, I own nothing designer, and that’s fine with me!

  4. I don’t have the budget for new designer items, so I don’t have a problem with buying designer inspired pieces every once in a while.

    I bought a knockoff watch in NY several years ago. It was really poor quality, so I learned my lesson quickly about buying knockoffs off the street. I won’t do that again.

    • LOL- I’ve never purchased anything from the street, mostly because I’ve never been to NY, but I would assume they’d be poor quality, LOL. But it served it’s purpose for the time being, right? 🙂

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