Fashion & Travel Blog

Sunday, 13 August 2017

REAL TALK: There's a difference between a Look4Less and a 'Dupe'

I have considered addressing this issue for some time now. Before getting into the dupe topic I think it's important to remember how the fashion industry works. In very basic terms, big fashion houses show collections twice a year, always one season ahead and the prevailing trends from these shows then filter down to high street stores. I think Miranda Priestly in The Devil wears Prada explains it best....

" 'This... stuff'? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select... I don't know... that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise. It's not lapis. It's actually cerulean. And you're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent... wasn't it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff."-Miranda Priestly, The Devil Wears Prada.

I’ve been blogging now for just shy of 5 years. Look4Less posts have always been a core part of my content. However I have always been very careful to stress the fact that a Look4Less is not a fake (illegal or legal, I’ll explain this later), a Look4Less is a piece that is ‘inspired by’ or 'pays tribute to' and has vital design differences. 


The topic of designer look-a-likes is often a sensitive one that divides opinion. The fashion scene is awash with look-a-likes at the moment, more than any other time I can remember. I think most of us can agree that out and out fakes are wrong. However recently we’ve seen the invasion of the dupe, not a Look4Less, a dupe. Firstly lets look at the definition of dupe. (Dupe - to make a dupe of; deceive; delude; trick.) A dupe is a legal fake, everything but the label. Legally if one design feature is different and there are no logos it is not a fake. In recent years fast-fashion high street stores like Primark and Zara have really upped their game and consumers can now get the latest trends without breaking the bank. I am a massive supporter of this movement, there's nothing wrong with an 'inspired by' piece or a Look4Less. What is wrong is deceiving people and essentially that is a what a dupe sets out to do.

As a content creator I’m very familiar with the concept of Intellectual Property. Just like books or movies, fashion designs do not just fall out of the sky. There are highly trained and talented designers with incredible muses and minds that result in innovative trends. My big issue with dupes and fakes (yes, I’m tarring them with the same brush) is the fact that they are profiting from the hard work of others without giving credit. A lot of people argue that because these designer brands make so much money it doesn't matter if a small company copies their designs. IT MATTERS. 

The pieces I’ll show you below fall under the legal fake or dupe category (The image on the left is genuine and the right a 'dupe'). Loop-holes have been used to avoid design laws. For example the Valentino dupes are of different heel height to the originals and have a different buckle. The Gucci Dionysus bag dupe features a GD monogram instead of a GG (You'd have to get quite close to notice this). The Gucci Belt dupe is legal because this GG buckle that we all associate with Gucci is part of their vintage collection and was never trademarked. All of these dupe have differences so minor that they are there purely to beat the system. But that doesn't make it right, the point is these ‘dupes’ are made and bought by people with the intent to deceive and ‘dupe’ others into thinking they are the originals. All of the pieces below are sold by Irish businesses and boutiques so we can’t just blame Chinese online retailers like Shein and Romwe.

I've seen countless Bloggers and Instagrammers promote these websites and boutiques and I think it's time we face up to it, a dupe is basically a fake. And any self-respecting person within the fashion industry who admires fashion houses and incredible minds like  Maria Grazia Chiuri or Raf Simons would never be seen dead with these pieces.






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