How Designers Are Changing Their Collections To Prevent Knockoffs

Photo: Courtesy of Mary Katrantzou.
Here’s a sad industry truth: Thanks to the breakneck pace of the retail cycle, it’s easier than ever for fast-fashion brands to debut knockoffs of designer items mere days after the originals walked off the runway. Meaning, swarms of customers can scoop up cheap-o versions of Fashion Week favorites long before the real thing even hits stores. Now, some designers have found a way to combat forgery by beating the imitators at their own game.

According to The Wall Street Journal, labels like Proenza Schouler and Mary Katrantzou — both creators of standout prints that are often targeted by knockoffs — have decided to focus on crafting custom high-quality fabrics, instead. Their thought being, it's easy for brands to replicate crazy runway shapes (like those Alexander McQueen armadillo heels), but faking handmade metallic lace or embroidered jacquard? That’s nearly impossible.  

This also explains Katrantzou’s choice last season to ditch her signature digital patterns in favor of intricately constructed pieces in more ethereal silhouettes. As she explained to WSJ, “It’s impossible [for mass-market chains] to come close to the quality and the craftsmanship. I think it’s also the way to build a luxury brand.” She has a point. As much as we love the London designer's wild motifs, maybe the lower-priced versions are better suited for collabs and one-offs. High-quality collections take time, and the fact that you can't buy them just anywhere is exactly what makes them so special. (WSJ)
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