Is imitation really the highest form of flattery? That may depend on who you ask. But for a whole industry of fast-fashion retailers and high-fashion knockoff sites (think Loeil, Style Mafia, and Few Moda), copy-catting is nothing short of de rigueur. These style destinations rip trends from the runways, churning out ranges of look-a-like ensembles that often merit a double-take to tell which is designer and which is not.
That said, there’s no question that the quality, heritage, and craftsmanship of these knockoffs is often extremely low. But what these fast-fashion giants provide is the ability to wear designer trends at bargain prices, which is especially attractive to fashionistas on a budget. And some designers are making it easier than ever to wear runway-inspired looks by knocking off their own looks by creating diffusion lines; H&M’s designer collaborations are a good example.
Not to be confused with counterfeit, fashion knockoffs may look like the originals, but they aren’t illegally imitating any trademarks or brand identities. So, you won’t find a faux quilted handbag emblazoned with a Chanel logo on this list. What you will find are six items that are worth buying in knockoff form.
A watch for your wrist can cost an arm and leg, especially when it comes to some of the most prestigious luxury brands. But aside from these status watches and collector’s-style timepieces, there are still plenty of ways to tell the hours and minutes from well-made labels that carry the designer look with a few less dollar signs. Want a gold watch that’s a knockoff of more expensive designer styles? Try Nixon on for size. Or, replicate that high-fashion modern-facing watch with an option from MVMT; its sleek, minimalist design only looks like the higher-priced real deal.
Like watches, luxe handbags from designer houses can be a huge investment — from Valentino’s recent studded wonders to the ever-iconic Hermès Birkin bag. However, haute handbags are very commonly sold in knockoff form because their trendy styling is easy fodder for replication.
While many types of sartorial statements — from bomber jackets to blouses — can easily be found in knockoff form, fashion-y frocks are certainly worth exploring in their more affordable forms. As an example, just look at the similarities between the beloved, girly label Self Portrait and significantly less expensive frocks from Aqua at Bloomingdale’s. The difference between the sheer laciness is almost undetectable. Even celebrities’ avant-garde gowns worn to premier events are replicated practically the next day for those who want to bring both the runway and the red carpet to their reality.
From Louboutins to Manolos, designer shoes are another fashion item that lends itself to knockoff versions quite well. No, you won’t have the same red sole, but in many cases, you will still have a solidly style-forward way to walk through your day. One of the most commonly replicated shoes of late has been the ubiquitous Valentino Rockstud, the studs of which have shown up in nearly every fast-fashion shelf or online marketplace since. And, word to the wise: Sam Edelman makes some impressive look-a-like Stuart Weitzman boots, too.
When it comes to knockoff sunglasses, you really have it made in the shade. No matter what size, shape, or trend, you can shield your eyes from the sun in inexpensive frames — and no one will be the wiser. She Finds highlights one of the most copied versions with Dior’s So Real sunglasses, which boast a signature frame that showed up everywhere, including in Free People’s inventory for a mere $20.
6. Bathing suit
Some designer bathing suits will leave you little spending money for that tropical beach vacation. Luckily, you can find many options that have all the designer panache without the price tag. You’ve probably seen the scalloped bikinis by Marysia, which models and celebrities made all the more popular. Ringing in at about $300, the bathing suit isn’t hugely expensive, but a quick check reveals you can find similar looks for less.