March 06, 2011
Knock Off News and Ethics
I spotted these See by Chloé-mirrored prints at a fast fashion boutique on Haight St. in San Fransisco. Imagine the price points and stock of a mom and pop version of Forever 21. It is possible that they use similar supply chains so maybe they will end up there or at Francesca's Collections or one of the other similar spots?
Above are See by Chloé pieces featuring the prints. The poly-blend of the knock off dresses make them markedly different from silk and wool fabrications. But still. And yesterday reader Maggie May alerted me to Forever 21's Trompe L'oeil knock off of the Marc by Marc Jacobs cardigan I posted (from the Spring 2010 collection).
The Forever 21 version is on the left with MBMJ on the right.
It got me thinking again about the ethics of inspiration. I can't deny that it bums me out to find knock offs of pieces I e-stalked and bought (usually at a significant discount). On some level it makes the time I spent tracking something down feel wasteful. But I also realize it isn't simple or cut and dry. References and inspired pieces are everywhere. Keeping up on who referenced who can be daunting and time-consuming. It'd be one thing if fashion was my job, but it will always be my silly hobby. I also don't have the finances to buy every original piece I covet. Knowing where to draw the line becomes even more challenging when so many brands create their own cheaper, "diffusion line" versions of expensive, coveted pieces (Mulberry for Target is one example). Where do you draw the line? Do you draw a line or think about knock offs?
For example, last season I almost bought the Brief Meeting Blazer from Anthropologie which was a pretty direct Elizabeth and James knock off. When I found the Elizabeth and James original in a Nordstrom Rack for about the price of the Anthro version, I passed again. When something I want is knocked off at a mass retailer it kind of kills my desire for the original (along with my desire for the cheaper version, Two Paths Trench coat notwithstanding).What are your thoughts on buying obviously inspired pieces?