Affordable (Rip-Off) Catwalk Fashion Via H&M. Good Or Bad?

I’m not always memorizing catwalk looks which I then identify in fast fashion stores. But when it does happen: identifying a catwalk ripoff, I feel strangely ambivalent about it.

On one hand, I think it’s terrible for the fashion designer, to have his or her work so blatantly copied and replicated with no credit due whatsoever. Not to mention royalties. But then again, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so… And then there’s another aspect of fast-fashion: not many customers are fully aware of what they’re buying as being a catwalk ripoff. They just pick it up from the hanger, at best try it on see if it fits and then just blindly wear it. Without thinking if it’s this or that season, this or that designer lookalike. Because, just like the name suggests it, they fast-buy fast-fashion which they fast-wear. There’s no ‘thinking’ about it. No time. It’s all fast.

Catwalk ripoff HM vs Kenzo

But globally: how do we feel about catwalk translations into fast fashion? Take these examples I came across today. A $40 mesh dress replicating Celine here, a Kenzo tshirt there, a daring cutout Balenciaga top here replicated to the stitch. What about the principle of couture? The innovation of fashion? The democratization of design?

Catwalk ripoff HM vs Celine

Do you feel your conscience heavier buying a $40 item that looks just like a $1,400 one (I’m only throwing numbers, I have no real idea about the price of that Celine mesh dress)? Do you think the designers should be reacting? Legally? Or should we do it first by simply not buying?

Catwalk ripoff HM vs Balenciaga

Let’s weigh in this ripoff issue, let it all out: I personally feel more inclined towards original labels, not towards the fast-fashion ones because I tend to consider my clothing under moral aspects as well as aesthetic and functional. But I admit I buy random basic clothing supplies from chains such as H&M or the Gap. Would I be willing to boycott them? I’m naturally inclined to rebel, so yes. How about you?

7 comments

#1 ana on 05.23.13 at 12:11 pm

So wrong… in all levels. Besides all aspects perfectly stated by you there is the sustainability issue . Our planet can not cope with that. Clothes being worn for less than one season and discharged.
I own some garments which I bought in 2000 ! And they still look in very pretty conditions. Not from fast fashion, of course.
And the work conditions of the people who are actually producing all that stuff. Modern s!avery , no less. Remember Bangladesh ?
I do understand some people live in a very tight budget and the HM & alikes may look like a solution, but in the long running, it is not.
For instance : my hubby owns some Ralph Lauren polo shirts back from 2003 -04 (which he loves to death and I HATE in equal measure. Btw, I wished he loses them at one of his trips, given I can t burn them). They look PERFECTLY new(insert dispair facial expression here) !! My daughter bought a polo dress from HM, wore it ONCE. Destroyed after ONE laundry. ONE!!
I know: HM and RLauren are both produced in Asia under s!avery … I am talking on the quality of the materials.

#2 Lisa on 05.26.13 at 5:17 pm

Actually there is intellectual property rights, so the designers dont exactly design something just to be copied. I bet the designers make a license agreement with any third party, like for example with h and m

#3 Appollonia on 05.27.13 at 9:52 am

These ‘designs’ are not truly unique pieces. Seen this all before. I owned once a green sweatshirt with a tiger print a bit like that. The tiger was black though. That white top? Looks familiar as well. High waists? Nothing new either.
Yes, the quality and fit the expensive brands is better. But simply not affordable for the regular people. Especially in these rough economic times.

Plus anyone should read Roberto Saviano’s Gomorrah (2007) or Dana Thomas’ DELUXE: How luxury lost it’s lustre (2007). I have recommend these books a several times. Read and shiver! Not even the biggest star on the most prestigious red carpet can be sure she/he wears blood free garments or diamonds….

So what ana describes is far more an issue to me than this so called ‘copies’ or ‘rip-offs’. And so hard to escape. And I am really trying… It’s not just H&M or Gap. It’s Zara and C&A….sighs..What huge chain is not involved? There’s the blood on our mobiles and every other gadget we own…..Read about the Foxonn su!c!des in China where the Apple products are produced? Of course this goes for all other brands not just Apple. It’s tiresome and nerve wrecking….

In September the first fair trade mobile will be available. A Dutch initiative by the way. As founders said this phone “is as fair as fair is possible….”

#4 ana on 05.27.13 at 10:28 am

Spot on Appollonia.DELUXE is a very interesting and well reserchead book. Everybody with a real interest on fashion should read it.
I am biased, i know, but 50% of Zara´s production is in Spain . That is a lot for keeping local jobs and economy. Its business model is unbeatable and it is being teached at Harvard.
It is predicted H&M will fall as its business model is unsustainable. It is a bubble and will burst( but owners will be zillionaries before that happens. Le sight!
It must be said that very few people are paying the real price charged in boutiques. Actually a bit more of 50% of the production of high fashion( Chanel , Hermes and LVouitton are the only exception) is directly destined to be sold at outlets. Even Tom Ford with his tedious discourse of exclusivity and glamour keep an outlet store outside NYC…

#5 Appollonia on 05.29.13 at 11:26 am

Oh wow, you are the first person on the internet who read DELUXE!!! I remember my almost passionate promotion on forums on Style.com etc. since 2007!! No one read or did want to learn about it. People seemed rather to be blinded by all glitz and glam. Sad. The books almost read like a thriller. I couldn’t stop reading. I was astonished!!

I also do know about this outlet policy. Ha, I still love nice clothes but fashion? I do care less about the many, many fashion shows every season and changing trends since a few years.
One example is the Louis Vuitton show. A great spectacle I really enjoyed. I admit that. Did I took it serious as a new trend? No way! Marc Jacobs and his muse Sophia Coppola were a living proof why with their appearance to the MET Ball.

Not a real surprise to learn about H&M. I need to google more to inform myself. The whole crisis is the result of people like them…..

The last news is the mafia has taken over in design city Milan…..And again I am not surprised to all.

Anyone who read this: go to your library or google and be informed….

#6 ana on 05.29.13 at 5:28 pm

You can get very good and thrustful information in the Financial Times, the WWD, the website Business of Fashion( really really good and accessible ) , The NYTimes, investorschronicle.co.uk.

#7 Appollonia on 05.30.13 at 6:29 am

Gracias ana!

I never heard of the website of Business of Fashion and the last link.

I’m still sort of exited that after all these years at last someone has read the DELUXE! Lol!

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