Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Faking It

It's been in the news recently that Alexander McQueen is suing Steve Madden over copying, nearly to the letter, his motorcycle-jacket-inspired open-toe bootie. While I completely respect Monsieur McQueen's prerogative to hate on the high-street retailer who's capitalizing on his hard-earned work to make a fast buck, it's also a sobering reminder that much of today's fashion is actually designed to be out of reach. Everyday geeks like me and you aren't MEANT to have access to the fashions we see on the runway.

Most girls rely pretty heavily on mass market retailers to give us access to that fashion dream we experienced on style.com. And arguably, some of the idea-poaching is so blatant that you can barely tell the original from the fake -- why would we pay full price for the high-quality version, other than for a season's worth of bragging rights? The maestros who created the originals have a right to be pissed. Problem is, the phenomenon has become so rampant that it's near impossible to pinpoint who the bad guy is. Steve Madden is a big brand that's come under fire in the past, so it's an easy target... but they're not the only ones who do a little bit of copycatting.

Ethically speaking, I'm on the fence with this issue. But style-wise, I'm all on board. When you have a wallet to keep track of, mortgages to pay, and a stomach that needs to be fed, you can't be dropping every dime on fashion. Which is why, thank god, there's Steve Madden, which is actually not even that cheap, and LaFresha on YesStyle. Just some recent picks I'm looking at lately... I mean, I know these are low-res and all but can you even tell the difference?

McQueen motorcycle jacket booties

Christian Louboutin ankle boots

Ann Demeulemeester lace-up boots

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  1. Hmm I know what you mean, I'm on-the-fence about this issue too. Part of me sympathizes with the designers, while another part of me cringes at the prices they charge. I think that if you really, really love a designer item and you have the means to buy the real thing, and you can see yourself wearing it for years to come because you're buying it out of love rather than a desire to be trendy for one season, you should save up for it.

  2. Fashion has always been ignored when it comes to copyright law and knockoffs are par for the course. Think of all those red carpet dresses you can buy online for $100. And I'm all for it because I could never afford anything by Alexander McQueen!

  3. Agreed! It is personal preference for consumers to choose either the original or knock off depending on their budget- fashion retail chains always get inspiration from the runway, that's part and parcel of the fashion cycle, I guess.

  4. Cant help but notice that Steve Madden seems to have made the heel slower than the designers' versions. As someone who has just had surgery for "high-heel" feet, I say yay!

  5. I totally agree with you! I think it's kind of a moot point and almost elitist, actually, for designers to react like this. Quite simply put, the people who spend $100-150 on a cheap knockoff are definitely NOT the same people who would (or could!) spend $1500 on a pair of designer shoes. It's not the same market, so you're not losing any money. And in fact, there are a lot of people who pride themselves on not having knockoffs & etc. - that's the market they should be trying to reach.

    PS - I actually like the SM version better than the McQ version. Does that make me evil? haha.