In a piece on The New York Times, the issue of copycatting — cheapie beauty brands creating affordable versions of luxury makeup — is addressed at length. “Imitation has become rampant in the cosmetics industry,” Alix Strauss writes, explaining a very familiar pattern: The “hot,” expensive products set the trends, and then mass-marketing companies create affordable versions for the people.
The underlying assumption in the Times is that luxury brands are trendsetters. Of course, that's not always the case, and the argument can quickly turn into a chicken-or-egg situation. Regardless, the main issue with copycatting is it takes business away from the company that invented the original product — as is the case in all industries. However, we like to think that imitation is necessary in a business that thrives on creativity and newness. Without the pressure to create innovative, new products, beauty would come to a standstill, and that would make our jobs, in particular, pretty boring.
And, honestly, we’re not mad at drugstore brands for making prestige concepts more accessible. While we love the feeling of pampering ourselves, beauty shouldn’t be an exclusive club. That’s one of our favorite things about it — a well-drawn cat-eye knows no economic bounds. (The New York Times)
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