The Imitation Game / by Cinthia Contreras

The saying goes that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But as time goes on, it just seems as though imitation is nothing but some taking credit (and gains) for others’ work and inspiration -  and getting away with it. It’s happening everywhere but when it comes to Fashion, that phenomenon seems to have spiraled way out of control.

Often, bigger brands and outlets are pilfering ideas or designs from smaller brands, “revising” them in some way and if possible passing them off as their own without so much as a nod to the original creators. That is how many small brands and designers have suddenly discovered that their designs are available for purchase - even though they had absolutely nothing to do with it. A few months ago, a friend of a friend who owns a small successful jewelry brand found herself staring open-mouthed at one of her signature designs in Zara. They’d never been in touch with her and never asked for her input but they felt they could comfortably and fearlessly steal her work.

Sometimes we can’t be sure exactly what has gone on but the similarities are too vivid and time lapses too short for any resemblance to be a mere coincidence. Just under a month ago during Paris Fashion Week, shoe brand Diego Vanassibara decorated their Paris showroom in foil - sofas, tables, stands, the lot. It was a shiny foil extravaganza. Then today, up popped the MM6 Instagram feed - with a decor all bedecked in, you guessed it, foil. Sure, no-one owns the idea of covering things in foil and Martin Margiela created foil jewelry in 2010. But honestly what were the chances of two foil decors occurring within three weeks of each other eight years later? It truly is more than worthy of a little eyebrow raise and it’d be laughable if it weren’t so rife and alarming. What are small brands supposed to do? Hide their brilliance in fear of being ripped off by bigger ones?

Conclusion: Imitation is no longer the sincerest form of flattery. It’s just absolute proof that those imitating have run out of ideas and anything original to say.