Copycat fashion - what's it all about?

I don't know about you, but I can't afford designer clothes. Infact, the majority of my wardrobe consists of high street buys, with the occasional 'high end' item which I've most likely bought on sale. There's no shame in this - I actually think it says a lot more about a person if they're able to style up low-end items as opposed to simply buying what's on trend and calling it 'fashion'.

Designer collections are there for inspiration - inspiration which is taken from the runway and 'portrayed' in different ways by high street stores. The victoriana lace and 70s inspired off-the-shoulder blouses we saw on the S/S 16 runways back in September can now be seen EVERYWHERE, in every shop imaginable. Which is what fashion is all about.

However, fashion should not be about copycat styles being sold at a much lower price than the original designer piece. I'm talking about EXACT copies, which are typically not hard to find these days. And I'll admit, they're hard to pass up - you've always wanted that way too expensive Celine bag, so why not get the much cheaper dupe? Or those Balenciaga black boots you wanted - why not pick up the EXACT same pair, just without the branding, for about £1,000 less?

I mean, what's the problem? People who can afford the designer item will probably still buy that, right? So you can go ahead and buy the cheaper version and not feel guilty about it?

Designing a collection takes a LOT of hard work - it involves a lot of people and money to get it all finished and sold, and there's often a very short space of time within which to do so. Fashion is an ever changing industry, meaning trends aren't around for very long. Many high street stores take part in what's called 'fast fashion' meaning they produce a limited number of 'trend' items so that they can be designed, produced and ultimately sold quickly, before the consumer gets bored and wants the next big trend. Stock changes so quickly, consumers are panicked into buying what they think will have sold out by the time they next enter the store. To produce and sell a collection quickly, some retailers have opted for an easier method: copycat designing.

The main culprit of this 'copycat designing' is Zara, one of the worlds most popular fashion retailers. Zara's profits have soared over the years and is growing on a scary scale, with new stores opening on a monthly basis. It's a huge competitor on the high street and is SUPER popular with fashion bloggers. Why? Because they're able to produce lines very similar to those of high class designers to sell at a much more affordable price - 'affordable luxury' they call it. We, the normal people who realistically can't afford to be buying clothes every month but still do, LOVE this because it means we can keep up with the latest trends and not skip out on our rent. Which is obviously great.

Other websites, such as and Choies are perfect examples of this - predominately Asian websites, copycat designs are made and sold for a low price, and we bloody love it. Bringing designer collections to the high street really strengthens the connection between us normal people, and the clothes we oh so wish we could afford. But it's a lack of innovation that's really the problem. When buying a copycat item, we're literally paying for someone to re-create a piece which has already been designed - where's the effort?

Zara is one of my favourite stores - I love the minimalist, quality clothes they offer and I will always shop there. It's interesting to think about where your clothes come from though and whether or not what you're paying for is actually worth it. Intellectual property theft isn't considered ethical, yet for some reason when it involves getting a cheap pair of shoes similar to those you saw on the Prada catwalk, we simply ignore it.

So, what's your opinion on copycat fashion? Are you happy to pay for something similar to a designer piece at a lower price, knowing the company receiving your money has made little to no effort in the process? Or would you much rather admire designer collections from afar, and shop somewhere which produces it's own designs, even if it means the products are a little less 'trendy'? Let me know in the comments!

No comments:

Post a Comment