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Fashion Fraud Squad

Fashion Fraud Squad

Real Vs Steal | Balmain blazer on a budget

Balmain blazer dupe at Shopbop

Balmain // Lioness

A Balmain blazer is one of those “if only” items for many of us. The sharp tailoring and immaculate attention to detail is TO. DIE. FOR. Unfortunately, so is the price tag – and we mean that in the literal sense, because we can’t even imagine how rich we’d have to be to drop £1,260 on one item of clothing – no matter how beautiful or well made it is – OR how much trouble we’d get into once our other half realised where this month’s mortgage payment had gone.

So, we love it, but we’re not going to buy it: what’s a girl to do? Well, you could do worse than check out this lower-priced dupe by Lioness, and available at Shopbop in sizes XS- L.  Seen side by side, it’s very, very obvious which is the “real” blazer and which is the “steal”, but then again, pretty much anything’s going to look bad standing next to Balmain, isn’t it? In its favour, the Lioness blazer will set you back just $80 – oh, it’s also available in black and white, both of which should prove versatile enough to work with everything from jeans to dresses. Now we come to think of it, you could actually buy all three – not that we’re saying you SHOULD, you understand – and STILL spend way less than you would on the Balmain version, and that alone makes us willing to at least try this on, and find out what it’s like in “real” life.

If you’re willing to spend a little more, meanwhile, and would rather go for a colour OTHER than those three neutrals, we also love this one by Laveer:

light blue blazer

This is currently reduced to $346 from the original $496 – so, yeah, it’s pricey, but still less than half the price of Balmain, if you’re looking for a way to justify.

Dresses, Fashion Fraud Squad

REAL vs STEAL | Mint lace dresses by Dolce & Gabbana and RoseGal

Docle & Gabbana mint dress

L-R: Dresses by Dolce & Gabbana and RoseGal

Today’s edition of “Real Vs Steal” features a very literal interpretation of that phrase: the lower-priced dress isn’t simply “inspired by” its designer counterpart – it’s such an exact copy of it that it could be said to be literally “stealing” the designer style.

The designer dress in question is this mint beauty by Dolce & Gabbana. Our sister site ShoeperWoman featured this dress earlier this week, and we instantly fell in love with it. As it costs a bank-breaking £1,885, however, we resigned ourself to the fact that we’d never get to wear anything remotely like it – until Fashion Police informer, Claudia, emailed us the link to the RoseGal copy, which is a whole lot cheaper at $32.09.

What can we tell you about RoseGal? Well, not a whole lot, as it happens. We’ve never shopped from the site ourselves, but we’ve been aware of it for a while now. It’s one of a growing number of Chinese retail sites (see also Choies, ChicWish, etc), all of which manufacture very low-cost fashion items, some of which are startlingly similar to clothing found in our favourite high street stores. (And which possibly ARE the same items we buy from the likes of Zara, Topshop etc, just with a different label sewn inside: who knows.)

Of these sites, RoseGal markets itself as catering to the “vintage inspired” market, and carries a lot of 50s-style dresses, one of which is this Dolce & Gabbana dupe. It’s identical in style, although the fact that it costs just $32 (and that’s WITH shipping from China) makes us very much doubt whether it’ll be of a similar quality. With that said, although we haven’t, as we mentioned, shopped from RoseGal before, we have bought or been sent items from both Choies and ChicWish, and while the quality wasn’t outstanding, it wasn’t terrible either, so you never know. Unless, of course, you decide to order this dress, and report back to us.

Would you, though? How do you feel about made-in-China dupes of designer clothing? Would you purchase one of these dresses?

[Thanks to Claudia for the report!]

Fashion Fraud Squad, Handbags

High Street Vs High-End | Camera clutch bags by Charlotte Olympia and Accessorize

camera clutch bags

They’re not identical, they’re not even the same type of bag (One’s a clutch, one’s a cross-body bag, but the latter could probably be carried like a clutch too, if you wanted to), but ultimately these are both bags designed to look like cameras, which makes us wonder:

Which is your favourite, and which would you buy?

The bag on the left is just £25 from Accessorize [buy it here]: it’s the cross-body version, but as we mentioned above, although it’s larger than the high-end option, you could probably tuck the chain inside and carry it clutch-style. It has a gold body with a matching strap, and is one of a few quirky clutches available at Accessorize right now. (We’re partial to the slice of lemon.)

The bag on the right, meanwhile, is by Charlotte Olympia [buy it here], and is much more expensive at £1,395. £1,370 more expensive, to be exact. Wow. In its (meagre) defence, those are Swarovski crystals on the “flash”, and it’s made from real leather, unlike the totally man-made Accessorize version, so if that justifies the extra cost to you, then so be it.

Does it, though? We really like both of these bags: they’re quirky and unusual, without being so over-the-top that you’d feel silly carrying them, and they’d add a nice, whimsical touch to an evening outfit. Which one would you buy, though? Is the high-end designer bag worth the price tag that’s attached to it, or would you rather save some cash (Well, a LOT of cash, let’s be honest…) and go for the cheap n’ cheerful high street version? Would you buy one of these AT ALL, come to think of it?

High street or high-end: which would you choose?

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Dresses, Fashion Fraud Squad

Designer Dupes: Striped dresses edition

So, did you all get the message that black and white stripes are, like, SO HOT this year? Because we could probably mention it a few more times if you’re not totally sure yet. Since the word was passed down from the powers that be, designer labels have been churning out black and white striped dresses like they’re going out of fashion. Which they will be, of course, but probably not until next season. Luckily for those of you who love the designer look, but hate the designer price tag, the high street brands have been equally busy making their own versions “inspired by” designers.

Here are some expensive striped dresses… and their more affordable high street counterparts.

Striped dresses: Designer Vs High Street

striped dresses by Marc Jacobs and Topshop

BUY: Marc by Marc |  Topshop

A simple, short-sleeved shift with both horizontal and vertical stripes. The Marc Jacobs version might be more flattering thanks to the darted area around the waist, but the Topshop version knocks one digit off the price tag, so you might just be willing to compromise. Topshop have also switched around the stripes with this: while the designer dress uses horizontal stripes on the bodice and vertical stripes on the skirt, the high street version is the other way around. So that makes it totally different, then.

Which do you prefer?

designer inspired dresses: Topshop and Docle & Gabanna

Topshop to the rescue again! Or not, as the case may be: there are obvious differences between these two styles, and we don’t think many people would have difficulty telling them apart, but the basic idea is still similar: full skirt, crew neck, short sleeves, stripes… The Topshop  dress is sold out online, so we we don’t have the exact price, but we’d guess it’ll be in the £40 range, if you want to check for it in-store. The Dolce & Gabanna version, meanwhile, can be found at My Theresa.

Which would you buy?

monochrome striped dresses by Lanvin and Warehouse

BUY: Lanvin | Warehouse

Our final example is much closer to the idea of what “designer inspired” really means: (Or what it used to mean before high street brands started to just rip off the runway in the name of “inspiration”) they’re both striped dresses, sure, but aside from similarities in shape, they’re actually completely different. When worn, though, the Warehouse dress will create a similar kind of effect to the Lanvin one, albeit the stripes will be a little narrower, and you’ll have an extra £2,115 in your pocket.

So, three sets of striped dresses, in different styles and different price-points, and three ways to get a designer look on a high street budget. Would you wear any of these, though? Which would you choose, if so? 

Dresses, Fashion Fraud Squad

Designer Dupes: Monochrome panelled dresses by 3.1 Phillip Lim and Mango

monochrome dresses

Two dresses, both alike in shape and style, both featuring crew necks, long sleeves, and large white panels bordered with black, to make their wearer look a little slimmer than she actually is.

One dress however, is an expensive, designer number, while the other comes from the high street. In this case, one is by 3.1 Phillip Lim, and will cost you £485, while the other is by Mango, and will set you back just £44.99.

We know which one WE’D buy, but which would you go for, assuming you were in the market for a dress just like this?

Dresses, Fashion Fraud Squad

Designer Dupes: Victoria Beckham Vs Diva Catwalk

Pencil dresses by Victoria Beckham and Diva Catwalk

As much as we love Victoria Beckham and her amazing dress collection, the fact that they’re: a) the price of a used car, and b) permanently sold out, anyway kind of puts the dampers on our hopes of ever owning one.

Luckily, though, there’s no shortage of other brands taking inspiration from Mrs Beckham, and one of our favourites right now is Diva Catwalk. Their Mayfair dress differs from Victoria Beckham’s colourblock pencil dress in a number of small ways, but none of them detract from the overall look, which is very similar.

Which do you prefer?

Diva Catwalk Mayfair dress, £99: click here to buy
Victoria Beckham colour block dress, $2295: click here to buy

Dresses, Fashion Fraud Squad

Designer Dupes: navy and orange dresses by Victoria Beckham and Rare

Victoria Beckham dress copied by Rare

‘Ello, ‘ello, ‘ello, now what have we ‘ere, then? Why, it looks like a case of Designer Dupes to us!

On the left, a navy and orange pencil dress, from Victoria Beckham’s Spring 2012 ready to wear collection: it cost $2,295, but the price is academic at this point, because it sold out as soon as it went on sale.

On the right, meanwhile… a navy and orange pencil dress, although this time by Rare, which is available at Topshop. This one is only £49, and was still available in most sizes at the time of writing, and can also be purchased at the Rare website, should it sell out at Topshop, which, let’s face it, it probably will.

Which do you prefer?

Dresses, Fashion Fraud Squad

Designer Dupes: Bi-colour dresses by Stella McCartney and Mango

Dresses by Stella McCartney and MangoWe’ve seen this Stella McCartney dress (£1,128 at Saks) on the likes of Kate Winslet and other celebrities, but if that price tag has you reaching for the smelling salts, worry not, because we’ve tracked down a Designer Dupe at Mango, for a less frightening £44.99.

No, no-one is going to to mistake it for the original: the side panels are navy rather than black, the length is shorter, and the bust less fitted, but the overall look is similar and, like its designer doppelgänger, it should help create the illusion of an hourglass figure, even if you don’t actually have one.

Just do us a favour, and wear better shoes with it?

Fashion Fraud Squad, Knitwear

Designer Dupes: Mint cable sweaters by Acne and River Island

mint green cable sweaters

Two sweaters, both alike in… colour. And cabling. Look, they’re both mint green cable sweaters, OK? What they’re not alike in, however, is price: the sweater on the right is Acne’s ‘Lia’ sweater, currently retailing for £220, while the one on the left is just £28 at good ol’ River Island.

What explains the price difference? Well, one is cotton, and the other is acrylic, and there are no prizes for guessing which is which. But also, one is designer, the other high street, and as we know all too well, that counts for a lot in the world of fashion, too.

Which would you buy? Are sweaters one of the items you think it’s worth investing in, making £220 a not-unreasonable amount, or does £28 sound more like your budget?

Fashion Fraud Squad, Shoes

Charlotte Russe is very “inspired” in the shoe department

Step forward, Charlotte Russe, you of the cheap clothes and “buy one pair of shoes, get the second pair for $10” offers. You have been accused of taking “inspiration” from other brands a little too literally, and we’d like to know how you plead.

First, the evidence:

Christian Louboutin shoes copied by Charlotte Russe
Christian Louboutin Vs Charlotte Russe

Charlotte Russe valentino bootsValentino Vs Charlotte Russe

Miu Miu shoes copied by Charlotte RusseMiu Miu Vs Charlotte Russe

Pierre Hardy shoes copied by Charlotte RussePierre Hardy Vs Charlotte Russe

These are just a few of the shoe copycats we found at Charlotte Russe, and, to be fair to them, none of them are exact replicas (although some are closer copies than others), and when you see them side-by-side, it’s instantly obvious which is the designer shoe and which is the copy. So CR probably aren’t going to find themselves in court over any of these. What do you think, though? Have they gone too far with the “inspiration”, especially with the more visually distinctive shoes, or is it fair game for mass-market retailers to copy designers in this kind of way, given that they’re not passing the shoes off as belonging to the designer brand, and are likely to be targeting very different areas of the market?

Tell us!

Fashion Fraud Squad, Outerwear

Designer Vs High Street: White tuxedo blazers

white tuxedo blazer

So, Tibi’s leather-trimmed satin-twill tuxedo jacket is kinda nice, no? Great with black skinnies, pencil dresses, jeans… an easy way to dress-up an outfit, just by throwing on a jacket. Awesome!

“But Fashion Police,” we hear you cry, “It’s $495! How can we be expected to pay $495 for a jacket? We will have to starve, or make ourselves homeless because we spent our rent money on a designer blazer, woe is us!”

Don’t worry, though, help is at hand! You SHALL have a white tuxedo blazer, Cinders! You shall have one from…

White tuxedo blazerPenneys,  €25 

white tuxedo jacketNext, £55

tuxedo blazerM&Co, £49

You could buy ALL THREE of these, in fact, and still have change from your $495: all is right with the world once more.

Which one would you pick?

Fashion Fraud Squad, Shoes

Spot the Difference: Colourblocked shoes by Jessica Simpson and ASOS

Can you spot the difference between these two shoes, readers?

Nope, we can’t either. In fact, a few subtle shade variations (which could easily be explained by differences in photography and lighting) aside, we don’t think there are any. The only difference, then, would seem to be the brand names – ASOS and Jessica Simpson – and the price points: the ASOS shoes are £75 and the Jessica Simpson ones are $78, which works out at around £56.

Looks like someone’s been a bit naughty on the “inspiration” front, then, but who is it? Well, Shoeperwoman wrote about the Jessica Simpson shoes last month, and the ASOS version only appeared on the site last week, so we initially suspected ASOS of being the guilty party. The copy seems SO blatant, though, that it doesn’t really seem like ASOS – in fact, we were so confused by it that we actually contacted them on Twitter to ask if the shoe they have listed as “ASOS Handfull” is actually by Jessica Simpson, and they’ve just neglected to add the brand name to the product description. (We know, it doesn’t seem likely, and they don’t normally stock shoes by JSim, but hey, benefit of the doubt and all that.) We’ve yet to receive a response, but we’ll update if we do.

In the meanwhile, what do you think: is this taking “inspiration” a little too far, or are you so used to this kind of thing now that it doesn’t really bother you?

Dresses, Fashion Fraud Squad

Designer Vs High Street: Stella McCartney Vs Mango

Black dresses by Stella McCartney and Mango

All rise for the case of Mango Vs McCartney!

Actually, it’s OK, you can sit back down: there’s really no case to be answered here – this is a straightforward case of “designer inspiration” as opposed to “blatant copying”, and while you can clearly see where the inspiration from this Mango dress has come from, there are enough differences between it and the Stella McCartney original to make it very obvious which is which.

Unfortunately for Mango, the side-by-side comparison doesn’t really do their creation any favours. We’re sure it probably looks nice on, but next to the Stella, it does look a little… well, cheap, really.

IS it cheap? Well, it’s £34.90, so we’d say yes, it is. As for the McCartney dress, you’ll pay £1285 for the privilege: ouch.

Fashion Fraud Squad, Skirts

Designer Vs High Street: Two-tone skirts by Dries Van Noten and Zara

Two tone skirts by Zara and Dries Van Noten

Good old Zara! The Spanish chain comes to the rescue once again, helping us save £478, were we in the market for a two-toned skirt with white panels at the front and black ones at the side. If we WERE looking for such a thing, we could buy it from Dries Van Noten. It would cost us £504, though, so we have to admit, we’d be much more likely to head to Zara, spend £25.99 and still have enough left for a top and shoes to wear with it, and maybe some lunch while we were out.

The Zara skirt is currently sold out on the website, but can be found on eBay (where you can probably expect to pay more than £25.99), or in-store, if you’re lucky. If you just can’t find it anywhere, though, well, you could always cough up £500 for the designer version, here.

Would you wear this? Which one do you prefer?

Dresses, Fashion Fraud Squad

Battle of the Black Dresses: ASOS Vs Roland Mouret

ASOS dress inspired by Roland Mouret

Even the least fashion-savvy amongst us would probably be able to tell these two dresses apart: there’s just no disguising a Roland Mouret, is there? Unfortunately for us, however, there’s just no way of paying for one either, so until our Fairy Godmother comes along to wave her magic wand, we’ll just have to content ourselves with this ASOS version of Mouret’s famous pleat neck dress. Well, the ASOS version is only £45, you see, and the Mouret is no longer available, and even if it was, it’s not like we’d be able to afford it on a police officer’s salary, so ASOS it is!

There’s one problem, though: the Mouret dress is from the Spring/Summer 2006 collection, so wearing it will probably cause fashion victims to look down their noses and declare it to be “SO last season!” Annoying fashion victims is one of our favourite hobbies, though, so we’d actually see that as a plus…

The ASOS dress is also available in blue and yellow: click here if you want to buy one.

Roland Mouret inspired dress from ASOS

Dresses, Fashion Fraud Squad

Designer Vs High Street: Victoria Beckham Vs Closet

Pictures of Freida Pinto looking gorgeous in a pale pink dress on Jimmy Fallon earlier this week had our officers sratching their heads for a second, and thinking, “Wait… is she wearing… Closet?”

Of course, she wasn’t. Freida was, in fact, wearing a dress from Victoria Beckham’s Spring/Summer 2011 collection, which, like the rest of the Victoria Beckham line, is beautiful, but not exactly realistically priced for those of us who aren’t on celebrity salaries. Most of the dress collection, for instance, retails from £900 – £1,500, with some pieces costing more.

Enter Closet, with their pink asymmetric neck dress, which… look, we’re not going to beat around the bush, here: it’s damn near identical, isn’t it? In fact, we can’t spot a single difference, other than the one on the price tag, which, while we’re on the subject, is £27 down from the original £45 at A|Wear.

So, what do you think, Fashion Jurors? Would you buy Victoria Beckham or Closet? Or would you buy neither?

Fashion Fraud Squad, Shoes

Fashion Police Fraud Squad: Jeffrey Campbell does Charlotte Olympia

Shoeperwoman spotted this case of Shoe Deja Vu for us: the shoes on the left of the image above are Charlotte Olympia’s ‘Bananas is My Business’ platform pumps, the ones on the right are Jeffrey Campbell’s Fruit Bowl shoes, and while it’s true to say that one is never going to be mistaken for the other, with the JC version looking inferior in every way, it’s also true to say that the fruit placement is so identical (melon on the toe, bananas on the side, strawberries on the heel) as to make simple coincidence seem highly unlikely.

What do you think?

Fashion Fraud Squad, Shoes

Spot the Difference: Betsey Johnson Vs Bakers

You know what puzzles us most about this case, readers? The fact that, at $70, the Bakers shoes are:

a) Not exactly “cheap”.

b) Only $10 less than the sale price of the Betsey Johnson originals.

We’re assuming there are enough points of difference for Bakers not to get in trouble over this, but there aren’t enough for it not to be blatantly obvious what they’re up to, hmm?

Fashion Fraud Squad, Trousers/Pants

Designer on a Budget: Polka dot shorts by Miu Miu and BooHoo

Polka dots are going to be big this summer. Bigger than they usually are, we mean. Polka dots tend to be one of those prints that never really go away, don’t they? This season, however, more than one big-name designer has decided to make use of them, and that means the high street has been quick to follow suit. We’ve already shown you Zara’s take on Marc Jacobs’ polka dot dress, and now here’s BooHoo’s version of Miu Miu’s (and hey, they even sound kinda similar!) polka dot shorts.

One pair is £170, and the other just £6. Given that they both look a bit like something you’d wear to bed to us, we’d probably spend £6 on the BooHoo version, and then have £164 to spend on shoes, but that’s just us. Which would you go for?

Fashion Fraud Squad

Designer on a Budget: Polka dot shift dresses by Marc Jacobs and Zara

Now, we’re not necessarily saying we’d buy or wear either of these two dresses, and we’re certainly not saying they’re identical in every single way.

What we WILL say, however, is that if a sudden hankering for a polka dot shift dress did happen to come over us, we know which one we’d choose.

We’re not going to tell you, though. No, we want to hear which one YOU’D choose instead: designer or high street? Do tell…

(Click here to buy the Marc Jacobs dress and here for the Zara version)