These days, it seems like knock-offs are all the rage. From Gucci Slides and Hermès Sandals to Cult Gaia bags, I see nothing but copycats walking down 5th Avenue. And yes, I can tell the difference. I suppose many of you can, too. While many brands are guilty, it appears the biggest perpetrator is Steve Madden. The brand seems to get most of its inspiration from high-fashion designer brands. See below:
So? You might wonder. Who cares if a stitch is changed if I can get the season’s hottest look for a fraction of the price? Well, I can tell you from personal experience, having your creative intellectual property stolen is not fun.
Not long ago I applied for a job that required sample work. While I didn’t get the job, it turns out, the job got me. Within two months, my work was published by the employer. Again, getting your personal creative property stolen is no walk in the park.
Sure, I’m not a mega successful fashion designer that can afford to have my work knocked off, but I can’t imagine this feeling very good, regardless of success. When you create something, it is yours, it feels like part of you. When someone takes that away, it feels like a piece of yourself has gone missing.
Despite my recent experience with creative theft, I’ve always held onto the principle that wearing a knock-off is a major no-no. While people might ogle at my brand new, unattainable Louis Vuitton bag, I would feel no pride in wearing it if it were a fake. Wearing fake designer duds makes me feel like a fraud myself.
I’ll always remember the episode of Sex & the City when the girls travel to LA and Samantha brings Carrie to “somewhere called the valley” for amazing knock-offs at incredible prices. While Samantha is rummaging through a shady man’s trunk for the most coveted Fendi bag, Carrie takes a step back. She says, “I should have liked them. But staring into that trunk, they no longer looked like elegant Fendi bags. They just looked cheap. Even if everyone else thought it was real, I’d always know my bag came from a cardboard box in a trunk deep in the valley.”
I don’t always agree with the teachings of Carrie Bradshaw, but this time around, I do. Like Carrie, I couldn’t wear a fake becuase I would know what it truly was. I’d rather save up and wait for the real thing, making the purchase that much more special. The bag would not only carry my cellphone and chapstick but would forever carry a fond memory.
What’s your opinion on knock-offs?