Colorpop has dupes for Kylie Lip kits. Zara has dupes for Chloe. Knock offs are everywhere. Counterfeits are illegal, but copying is the norm. Makeup, clothing, even personal style is increasingly made up of a lot of copies. “Steal her style” culture has been bred by instagram, pinterest, and youtube, and originality leads to the rise of, well, unoriginality. But also a lot of fun trends. So is dupe culture good or bad?
I just bought a pair of knockoff Birkenstocks. In truth, I had been eyeing Birkenstocks for around two years. They’re comfy. They’re easy. Plus, last summer they were a HUGE trend, and one that made every outfit seem just a little better. But they also cost anywhere from $80 to $130. I’m generally reluctant to spend more than $40 on trends, because they look dated so fast. So when I saw $14 fakenstocks in a CVS, I knew my time had come. Part of it was that I was getting ready to go off to camp, where Birkenstocks are basically an essential. But part of it was that my inner fashion girl was getting really excited about a dupe.
But when I bought those $14 shoes, I was also hurting Birkenstocks. They had a product that was original. And people knocked them off, and instead of Birkenstocks getting my money, the knockoff brands did. CVS isn’t the only (or even biggest) culprit; Zara, Forever 21, H&M all make money by knocking designers off. This hurts innovators.
But those same innovators are often copycats too. Celine’s furkinstocks were labeled a “homage” to Birkenstocks. But weren’t they really just another knockoff? Fashion itself is essentially run on the idea of copycatting. Trends are just a bunch of people copying others.
Instagram and other forms of social media make dupe culture more apparent. Just search for “dupe” and you get pages upon pages of beauty and fashion copies. There are thousands of people who copy celebrities like Kylie Jenner down to a T- only with garments and makeup that costs a couple grand less. Dupe culture make sit easier for consumers to get their hands on coveted expensive pieces for less.
So I don’t have an answer. Dupes hurt originality, but they also make it easier for everyone to have access to fashion. Knock offs are hated by designers, and yet are the core of fashion. Maybe dupes are just the paradox of fashion. But what do you think? Let me know in the comments!