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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Or is it?

One of my favourite Perth stationery brands wrote a heart felt post this week about how another business was ripping off her ideas and undercutting her pricing to boot.  Not cool.  In fact, I actually think it's disgusting and about as low as you can get.  

It got me thinking.  Recently I shared a photo of a Millers wrap, next to a Burberry wrap that was ridiculously more expensive.  Yes, you could absolutely see that the cheaper one was inspired by the more expensive, but was it a rip off?  Nope.  Was it a designer imitation?  Nope.  I got a bit of stick for this photo, with someone telling me I was supporting businesses copying designer goods.

What a load of rubbish.

There is no way in the world that I (or most of my readers) would ever be able to afford the Burberry wrap.  Or the Marcie satchel that I'm about to show you.  They are just not on our radar.  We don't think "oh, should I get the $1,500 wrap or the $40 one - decisions, decisions!".  Burberry are not losing any business by someone producing a similar piece of clothing - they are not competing in the same arena.  At all.

Designer ripoffs - now that's a completely different kettle of fish.  Buying anything that is an obvious fake, be it a handbag, sneakers or fake designer clothes in Bali is not a good idea.  You have no idea at all where the money you're handing over ends up, but I can guarantee it's not going to feed the hungry or the homeless.

It is NOT ok to blatantly copy someone else's brilliance and pass it off as your own.  Ever.  But it is ok (I think - let me know if you don't agree!) for brands to be inspired by top end designs.  Why ever not?

Nothing is new.  Everything is inspired by something, and everyone is inspired by someone else.  How many bloggers model themselves on Audrey Hepburn, for instance?  How many of the recent influx of midi skirts pay homage to the Dior dresses of the 1940s?  

Personally I think it's almost impossible to be original in the way that you style yourself - it's always been done before in some way.  The best that you can hope for is to be authentic - the best version of you.  Authenticity resonates with other lovely words like integrity and honesty. 

So, these are the two handbags in question.  They're similar, aren't they?  But they are not identical by any stretch of the imagination.  And they couldn't be anyway because Chloe handbags are divine leather and hand stitched.  For $49.95 you're not going to get that on the high street.

Katies Saddle Bag, $49.95
Chloe Marcie Saddle Bag in Bordeaux, approx $1,700

I would love to know your thoughts on designer inspired high street versions, leave me a comment below!


  1. Hi Vicki! This is a really interesting topic and one that I haven’t quite got my head around yet. I’ve done a bit of reading on the subject and while I completely agree with you that Millers and Katies are hardly competing with Burberry and Chloe for the same customers attention, I still don’t know how I feel about purchasing something that has been blatantly copied from someone else’s design. I suppose it is easily rationalised when it’s massive businesses like Chanel or Louis Vuitton that are being imitated, but what if it was a little known designer or a fashion design student that was having their ideas copied? It’s such a tricky subject! I think over all I’d be much more inclined to purchase a cheaper version of an interpretation of a high fashion trend rather than an obvious copy. Thanks for delving into this subject, I’ll be interested to see what some of your other readers think! Xx Hannah

    1. Thanks for the thoughts Hannah. It is such a difficult and grey area - is it a copy, is it inspired by....??

  2. I've done a few posts on copycat designers and I've had a few eye opening experiences since moving to Perth. It's one thing to be inspired like what Katies and Millers are doing here but some of the designs I've seen from so called designers are straight out copies.

    1. And that's where the line is crossed I think. A straight copy is surely overstepping the mark completely?

  3. The Katies bag is to die for :)


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