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Friday, June 24, 2011

To Buy or Not To Buy: A Dilemma

Sneak preview for tomorrow night's post + discussion...
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I am going to be upfront about this: I buy knockoffs if they're well done. You've seen them here on the blog. Jeffrey Campbell does a great job at it, I am very thankful for the brand. So naturally I kind of went crazy when I saw that these Chloe knockoff boots had become available to the mass market for under $200. I had stalked the original ones for what had felt like years; I've loved the infamous doc marten/wedge silhouette ever since I first saw it. I still have an ebay alert set up in case a certain pair walks in the door with a size 9 and my name on it. But Ill say it, I don't really have $600 to spend on a pair of shoes. So then these shoes are a gift from heaven. However, here is where the dilemma comes in.

Can you support a brand that blatantly knocks off designers to profit for themselves? Morally I would say it's wrong. But then again, it happens everywhere. Singers constantly do covers of other people's songs, and nobody complains. Directors remake movies all the time. Left and right you see it happening. So what is right and what is wrong? I don't have an answer here. Like I said before, I buy knockoffs. I love these boots. But still, I'm conflicted.

What do you think?

44 comments :

Anonymous said...

It is wrong. Would I still do it? Yes, because most items available in the mass market (ie H&M, Zara, Forever 21, etc..) are either direct knock offs or "heavily inspired" by designers anyway. I can't afford to spend $200 on the original tank top made by Alexander Wang, but I can afford the $20 version by H&M.

It is wrong, but I'm not going to dress in a plain tee shirt and jeans for the next 10 years to avoid buying copycat items.

Carmen said...

You're right. It's pretty conflicting. I also adore those boots and could never dream of affording the original Chloe's. Some people don't like JC but I have a pair and I think they're made quite well. I'm sure the quality varies between shoes, but in general I like the designs they have and if I had more money I would probably have more JC shoes. I would buy it.

I wish the contrast stitching wasn't so apparent but, its still nice. If you REALLY feel strongly against it, don't buy it! You'll only feel guilty. If you love it, have money, grab it and enjoy the feeling of a brand new pair of cute shoes.

s said...

Nice shoes.. but i'm not very convince ;D


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Tayler said...

yes its totally wrong. but when you think of it, its not only blatant knock offs like these that are every where, but also fast fashion companies like forever 21 have even cheaper knock offs. I'm honestly as conflicted as you are. If it is an exact knock off of a designer brand I think its wrong but there becomes a fine line between others with what is a knock off and what isn't. I'd buy them!!

www.styleinterplay.com

Debbie said...

I think it's totally wrong. And the fact that 'such things happen all the time' should never be a reason to act like that too. I think it's a shame and pretty disrespectful towards the designers of the original pieces, but I do understand the urge while the real deal seems to be so expensive (mostly out of proportion!). I won't judge other people when they do buy knockoffs, but won't allow myself buying them.

x

Jamie Rose said...

I say go for it! It's not really cool to copy others' original works, but they're often at ridiculous prices that normal people can't afford. If you had the money to buy the real thing and you bought knockoffs, then I'd say it's completely wrong. But knockoffs are there to be bought and they're often not as high quality anyway so you're getting what you pay for. I really don't have a problem with them as I'm a broke college student and want to be fashionable on a budget.

Joy said...

Mmmm this is a dilemma indeed.

Lily said...

Sometimes I think this is what makes fashion so off-putting; if someone creates something beautiful is it such a sin for others to try to recreate that taste of beauty for the masses? While I don't condone the act of trying to pass off knock-offs as the real deal (i.e. if JC tried to sell them at the same price, same name) I don't think there's any problem in producing copies of the original. I think of them more as 'tributes' to the original anyway. I say you should do whatever you want!

Camilla said...

It's so hard nowadays to buy something that isn't directly inspired by a designer piece, unless you go completely vintage.
I think it's great that nice pieces are becoming more accessible, but i think it's bad for designers and so I also wish high street stores would be a bit more original.


x Camilla

intothefoldfashion.blogspot.com

Julie Khuu said...

Go with your gut Hun!! If you're that conflicted, each step you take may make you feel worse about the purchase, therefore causing more anxiety and then it snowballs...if you can sleep at night no worries, then I say go for it!!

I'm a total Forever 21 fan and their entire inventory is a knock off of high end designers, season in season out...but to be honest, I don't know where I would purchase on the fly, inexpensive, fun, trendy pieces...good enough for a season, but if there was longevity for the pieces, I wouldn't think twice!

Good luck doll, thanks soooo much for opening this discussion!! In total support which way you swing!

xo-Julie
Peace. Love. LOL!

Haute Khuuture Blog

Vasilieva said...

loving the boots, not a big fan of the knock offs though, but i'm guessing it's sort os inevitable


http://elenavasilieva.blogspot.com/
x

fiona said...

It is wrong, but directors remaking movies and singers covering songs is a totally different thing you can't compare it to.

If you want them, get them -- I'm sure that if you could, you'd pay full price but until you start earning money properly I don't see why you should put yourself under stress for not being a high-earning thirty-something, the kind of people who can probably afford these shoes for real!

Anonymous said...

usually i think it's wrong to buy knockoffs, but if the availability of the real ones is nonexistent and you're dying for the style of shoes, i think it's okay to buy these JC's.

Lindsay said...

i really had to think a long time before writing this. i agree that it's completely disrespectful to knock off someone's designs. if i were the designer i would be upset, but i don't think it's an insult. besides the fact that whoever is selling the shoe is making money off of someone else's design, it's actually a complement. There are designer shoes and bags that i'm absolutely in love with and contemplate saving up for, but then i'd have to go on a major shopping diet and i'm not sure if having that one item is worth it. When I'm older (atm i'm 15) I'll invest in quality designer items, even now sometimes I will if it's a classic piece that i'll have forever, but most of the time knock offs or 'designer inspired' pieces will do. Theres nothing wrong with wanting to look fashionable in designer things, so as long as they are well made and don't appear cheap, i would go for it. I never shop at F21 because the clothes look like knockoffs and they are. I do like Jeffrey Campbell though because in my experience the shoes are well made and comfortable. Sometimes i even find websites selling knock off Jeffrey Campbells. it just proves the point that no matter who the designer, someones always trying to make a cheaper version. If you are really against it, don't buy the shoes. But if you love them and they don't look or feel cheap, then go for it.

xo
Lindsay
thestyle-child.blogspot.com

SAMANTHA said...

I guess it's wrong but not everyone can afford designer brands and why is it fair for them to be left out because of their financial standpoint? If you've been eyeing them for years, get them. and when someone asks about them, be straight up when you say they're knockoff but you love them.


www.dragonnfruit.com

The Fancy Teacup said...

It is hard to say. I've been a big fan of Jeffrey Campbell shoes, but I was quite disappointed when I saw that they were suing F21 for copying their shoes, when they are just as guilty for doing knockoffs of high fashion designers.

I try to buy shoes from JC that aren't knockoffs of other labels, because I do believe that people should respect the quality of originality whatever the price. It's not fair for companies to make profit over items that weren't their own idea in the first place. So I just stick to buying things from F21, JC, and the like that aren't knockoffs, and I generally feel okay about it.

♥, Jamie
www.TheFancyTeacup.com

Natasha said...

I do not think it is wrong. Essentially, knockoffs are what keep the fashion industry going. Everyone takes ideas from each other and from past decade. Have you ever seen one piece of clothing that has been completely and totally original?
So I say buy the knockoff. You aren't doing a disservice to anyone. You're profiting the maker of the cheaper shoe, and you know what? Those people that buy the six hundred dollar version aren't ever going to stop buying the six hundred dollar versions because there's something less expensive on the market.
The only reason not to buy them would be if they were not worth the two hundred, i.e. not well made.

P.S. They're adorable!

Cáti said...

Yes it's wrong but we have to blame the high prices...the majority of the world population can't afford real brands so we have no choice. The brands should lower the prices...but they don't really seem to care and that's because they make a lot of money anyway.


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Shevah said...

I think it is wrong to copy other's art pieces and essentially fashion is art at its core. BUT I kind of feel like its inevitable when high fashion prices are more than most people's rent. It's ridiculous and naturally people will knock them off.


AND I want those shoes sooo bad. 200 dollars is even out of my budget right now too. Haha. Can't wait to see you wear those.

Ruta, Look Ugly in a Photograph said...

I always make an exception for clothes and shoes and jewelry, but when it comes to bags, I refuse to buy knock-offs. I think the thing about bags is that I know if I buy an expensive one, it'll last me for a long time because I'll take care of it, they are basically timeless. Shoes, well they will wear down and get ruined and at some point I'll have to throw them out. So I condone knock-offs for everything except bags.

Those are really nice shoes by the way.

Anonymous said...

Girl, I am right there with you. I have these dilemnas constantly, and almost always with JC. Just this morning I was looking at these babies and was both appalled and lustful at the same time:

http://needsupply.com/womens/shoes/platform.html

Such a Prada ripoff! With that said, I've bought Steve Madden YSL copies, the f21 Miu Miu's, among many others. It's hard because it makes you think about why you love fashion - is it these famed old houses and the impeccable, luxurious materials they use? Or the style in general? Even if it's just the style in general, there's the idea of intellectual property.

I guess your decision (and mine too, for the blatant Prada rip-offs) is how much you love the shoe and appreciate its history. If you love it, you love it, and you are clearly not trying to pass off anything fake as the real thing. Get what you love - your heart and head are so clearly in the right place!

ashelee said...

buy them. you want them, and you can't afford to spend half of a mortgage on the originals...nor can a lot of people. so on that note, i see no problem with designers or clothing companies making their "own versions" or spot-on reproductions; whether it's for their benefit or for that of people who really can't afford the higher-end, way more expensive originals. honestly, i think if i were a designer i would be thrilled and honored to see that i've created such an inspiration. and the reproducing is something that designers have to be aware of. i know fashion can't be compared to health care, but you shouldn't deny anything to somebody just because they can't afford it.

Sara said...

I don't think it's wrong. Walk into any chain store and you'll see the same thing JC shoes do to designers. They copy their art work, they remake them into their own design. It's what companies do...These shoes are almost identical to the Chloe boots, so I see your dilemma! I think they're quite lovely, I sure would buy a pair! xx.

Noralia Ayu said...

quite difficult ... and you correct things like this will bring up an inner conflict .. but for me is quite simple, I love shoes, clothes, and fashion because they make me happy .. and with it I hope they are happy not to be something that then turns the function .. If you like it and feel it is wonderful for you, no problem .. maybe just like you find the handsome new neighbor or other similar well-known actor .. He's not the original .. but if it is possible for you to get is your neighbor, why not? Would not you like it? My answer is just do what your heart say to this .. I personally really liked your blog, because your style is very interesting, I honestly do not pay much attention to something that is branded, authentic, or any other :)

holly ann. said...

Conflicting? Yes, but at the same time, these brands have lawyers who work specifically in defense of this crisis (my friend's going to school for this). Does this wipe out knockouts? Of course not, but hey, it's not our job. Our job is to appreciate and support it as we can I guess.

So Yeah So said...

I think the difference is that when a singer covers a song or a director remakes something, not only is that person actually reinterpreting it artistically and putting their own spin on it, but usually the original artist will see part of the profits.

I would much rather support collaborations between designers and affordable chains like you see with Target, H&M and Kohls. These are smart business relationships that bring design to the masses but also benefit the designers with sales and by building brand loyalty for when people can afford to buy the full on designs.

So all of this is a long way of saying that I don't think it's okay to buy blatant knockoffs.

Deanna Wagner said...

after much inner conflict, i decided to purchase the JC litas. yes they're a knockoff and every blogger and stylish girl owns them already, but i really dont care. if i want to rock them, i'm going to rock them, in my own unique style. i think everyone should just buy what they like.

http://acaliforniadreamer.blogspot.com/

Betsy said...

Gorgeous shoes


www.suspironews.blogspot.com

Chelsea said...

Well if you're going to speak of knockoffs by Jeffrey Campbell, check out these obvious Prada and Balenciaga wannabees:

- http://www.solestruck.com/jeffrey-campbell-ad-long-brown-combo/index.html
- http://www.solestruck.com/jeffrey-campbell-roscoe-rust/index.html

I'm not familiar with the Chloes but from my two examples, I'd be more inclined to buy the Balenciaga look-a-likes rather then the Pradas because they aren't as blatant and cheap looking compared to the original. Are these shoes more of an allusion to the Chloe ones or are we talking about total obvious fakes?

Good luck with your decision!
xo
http://couturecultureblog.blogspot.com

jane said...

after working in fashion...
does it even matter? (i mean if you're being sued, yes) but still. rock em..it's the trickle down effect. the so-called "originals" were created to be "knocked-off" if it's not an exact copy (aka a faux chanel bag on canal street) then i think of it more as an interpretation. trickle-down is how fashion cycles itself over and over again... it's what makes fashion continue.

Nariese said...

It's wrong, yes. But I think if it was well-made, I'd really buy it. Besides, not all people can afford the real deal, right? :)

Rosalinda Tjioe said...

Those are killer shoes. I think I'd buy it <3 X

http://rosalindatj.blogspot.com

donna said...

I'm not against knock-offs. They make a design available to a wider range, particularly for a younger audience. There's also the fact that the fashion industry has no copyright protection. When I first heard that, I couldn't believe my ears. But can you imagine it though? Collars, sleeves, cuffs, all of these being copyrighted? That would suck.

Check this out:
http://www.ted.com/talks/johanna_blakley_lessons_from_fashion_s_free_culture.html


x
borrowedfromgrandma.blogspot.com

louisiana mei said...

i do it all the time with shoes just because i dont have, like you, $600 to spend on something so.. unneeded. the money can be put to better use like for pocket money, groceries and other important things.

plus i dont think these are knock offs... they're just pieces inspired by other designers. and if they are so much cheaper and more available to a larger amount of people, then why not right? a knock off (to me) is something like a coach bag with bad looking Cs all over it.

i mean whatever, if you like it and fine with buying it, go for it! i doubt any of your friends are going to desert you just because you're wearing a pair of good looking shoes that you got for a steal

Christina Dietz said...

There isn't some universal, ontological ethical code. If you want to be honest about it- It's only wrong or okay if you say it is. It's really that simple.

You think it's wrong? Then it's wrong.

You think it's okay? Then it's okay.

I say buy them and then download an alan watts podcast, maybe then you won't take such dilemmas so seriously.

Ali said...

I think things like this are a step above chinatown knock-offs that actually copy the logos and everything and try to pass for the original. you're not trying to pretend these are the original, so that's ok.
thing is though, where would you wear these? the style of them would indicate that you'd wear them to fashion-y events with other fashion industry people present, but would you be constantly worried that people are judging you for wearing knock offs? because they will be able to tell.

taryn said...

Being that im a college stduent. The knock off works for my budget.


http://dapper-dapperette.tumblr.com/

Jelly said...

It is a bit wrong but also ok. I'm a bit the same as everyone else, however, I usually think the real thing is just way too expensive. Fashion should be and is for everyone, not just the wealthy. And I'd rather see beautiful items on a cute young girl than a wealthy old grandma with money. I say buy them and I know I will be too. I get that designer items are higher quality blah blah blah but at the end of the day, a leather handbag or shoes is just that. The only reason prices are what they are is just blatant greed.No other reason. So do what makes you happy and purchase away...

Marie-Luise said...

how is fashion ever different? unless these have a fake chloe label on them too, i see no reason not to buy them.

Bethany said...

Well, to be fair... It isn't as though the real brand would be losing money. The people who can afford it will buy it and those who can't, wont be able to. Plus I don't think (although I could be mistaken..) that JC ever tries to claim his designs as his own, but instead as more affordable versions of higher end shoes.

Obviously I'm gettin' these babies :)

Carys said...

I think you took my thoughts right out of my mind for this post. I'm quite an indecisive person and don't have an answer either. I do think that it is wrong but, on the other hand you think about how this happens in many industries and many of the originals are so unaffordable.

Claire said...

This is a really good point. Really makes you think.
I think that knockoffs are generally a good way to make a generally highly priced item available to the public, with obvious changes such as materials and quality. However it really bothers me that someone would actually bother to "knockoff" a particular product just to make money. I think design should be more than just "knocking off" a product in the pursuit of money and rather to create the designers true vision of beauty and creativity. I know this really isn't possible for a lot of designers because of course the product must be produced and sell, but by copying another designers product it just makes the brands seem a little bit lazy and uncreative.
I agree definitely, it's really difficult to decide what's really right in this argument.
So much to think about, great post! :)
www.notimeforchitchat.blogspot.com

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aclineo said...

hmmm -- you bring up some pretty valid points. my only issue w/ knockoffs is that oftentimes they support crime organizations and exploit workers for basically no money.