Monday, August 10, 2009

Fashion Piracy, a necessary evil?

Every once in a while, more so during these tough economic times, we find fashion magazines shout "Eureka" at the knockoffs(the more polished term for imitation clothes or accessories), going even so far as to suggest how clever one must be to sport runway fashion at a fraction of the original cost! With Oprah Winfrey getting sued for 1 trillion dollars for plagiarism, Nicolas Sarkozy going as far as to suggest that people who download pirated music be severed off their internet connection, are the designer lot a benign breed to blithely ignore people who have made a business out of making insipid copies of clothes and accessories showcased by prominent high end fashion houses for only a fraction of the original cost?
High end fashion's survival depends on it being exclusive to a select few while at the same time being inclusive to the aspirations of the mass.Its common knowledge that what is seen, reviewed and talked about during every fashion week becomes the possession of a select few.On the contrary, those "privileged few" can only sustain business and not expand it.For expansion fashion houses need a critical mass.And that can only be fulfilled by the common man.So fuel people's interest in high end fashion by allowing these knock offs to penetrate the market, which indirectly becomes a means of advertising for the brand.Let the magazines scream aloud and create a mass hysteria, making the imitation the most "penny wise" and essential purchase of the moment.
The beguiled consumer is only too eager to own this piece of "art".And then slowly comparisons are drawn about how the original is always classier and better, leaving the "knocked off" person with a volcanic desire to possess an original designer piece at some point.So if out of every 100 people who bought the knockoff even 5 decide to buy an original then look what it does to the fashion houses' bottomline!!And more importantly the shoes and bags that are most remembered from a season are the ones that have been imitated innumerable times.A clever advertising strategy!!Now comes the most important question of whether to indulge in an imitation or not?For me fashion is a manifestation of an individual's personality and a lot can be garnered by observing one's way of dressing.
Christian Lacroix's Haute Couture Fall '09 collection emerging as the best of the season despite being done on a shoe string budget, just proves that style surpasses mere purchasing power.That said, with the right attitude even high street fashion can be head turning.A knock off unfortunately robs all originality from the possessor and communicates a desperate need to be someone else they cannot afford to be, and it needn't be stressed that we are all valued for our uniqueness, more so while expressing ourselves!!And while you muse on whether or not to buy the Dillion pump knockoffs(topmost picture), get some red nail lacquer in hand, either way you might just need it!!

Now a bit about the fakers found above:
1.The black pump with frills found on Mandee is a replica of the Dillion pumps by Christian Louboutin for 3.1 Phillip Lim Spring '09
2.Gucci agate and gold necklace replicated by Asos.
3.Wooden Bead earrings found on Asos, inspired by the famous Louis Vuitton Spring '09 collection.
4.Sandals(leftmost in last picture) by Victoria's Secret inspired by Gucci Fall '08 collection.



cody said...

those boots on the last!!


wendy said...

This idea has been on many fashionistas' minds for a while. What is inspired and what is just plain copying styles?
Fashion is a business. a vain one at that! So when a smart consumer comes around and buy say...footwear similar to yours, you paying roughly 500-900 dollars for them, they paying 60-150 dollars for it. It's simple, designers get angry and child-like in nature and don't want their artistic ideas being deemed as commodity or 'cheap'.
There are certain knockoff stores that pay a certain amount of royalties to brands like chanel,LV,Gucci,etc for using the logos with cheaper material. It's been going on for a while... designers only care about money they are losing, it's not about originalty, it's about money. And once designers lose sight of the art in fashion, the design perspective, the passion in creation for EVERYONE not just those that can afford it, then the line dies.
no one wants to buy Rodarte water-downed designs at target, they want replicas of high-costing beauties!!ahhh the sin of masstige.

P Adhikari said...

well said wendy, art dies when commercialised, the sad state fashion is in today, when asked the reason as to why Dior's Fall Haute Couture had to revisit the past and not offer anything new Bernald Arnault was bang on target"We know it sells!"I guess that pretty much sums up the state of affairs, keep your head above the water first, butterfly strokes later!