Is imitation really the sincerest form of flattery?


Copying, replicas, harmless imitation, call it what you will – but just why are fashion designers imitating their fellow brands.

It’s a known fact that no idea is truly original, many originate from previous creations similarly with music and fashion. Although it’s more acceptable to copy from the runway archives, but perhaps not so much when designs are fresh and new.

Adidas, originator of the trademark ‘Stan Smith’ trainer – which dates back to Run DMC videos and were frequently partnered with the lesser favoured Adidas striped tracksuit – have recently been churned out by many outlets, including high end designer Isabel Marant. Though I understand that if done right it’s quite the moneymaking scheme, but of course not before putting your own spin on the item in question, I am of course referencing Isabel Marant here.

Olivier Rousteng, Creative Director at Balmain engaged in an interview where he explained that he was not opposed to imitation within the fashion industry. In fact, Olivier expressed that he quite liked the idea of high street designers copying his work for affordable outlets. Now, granted it’s beneficial to those of us unable to purchase the latest Balmain skirt, sported by supermodel and reality stars alike, but at what cost to the original designer? One could argue that something you dreamt up gained mass popularity, which in itself is an achievement. However, it could also be argued that your respected profits are being skewed elsewhere, which is well… not so great.

Footwear entrepreneur of design house Aquazzura on the other hand had a different opinion on the matter, when his signature fringe heels had been duplicated by everyone and their mother. This particular designer was most displeased when Ivanka Trump created a similar style shoe for her own collection, causing a media uproar. For those unaware of the social media celebrity warfare, Edgardo Osorio put out an Instagram post calling Ivanka out on her imitated designs – drama! The popular fringe heel, spotted on affordable retailers such as ASOS and Public Desire, only raise further questions. As a shoeaholic, you may have seen the Dior dupes as anyone who’s anyone has a pair and very few have the original pair, but for some reason it’s okay. Of course, it’s hard not to notice your designs being sold at numerous affordable retailers but it seems Edgardo was only angered by a fellow high end designer swiping his ideas.

So you have to think, why is it not a problem when high street retailers use inspired designs, but is an issue when luxury designers do?

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