Fashion’s obsession with fakes and knockoffs will take on a new life in 2022


In the year In 2022, being fake looks like fashion is the new reality. Take Loewe’s Spring 2023 collection, for example, where creative director Jonathan Anderson looked to artificiality as a source of inspiration. Surreal, sci-fi elements are woven into clothing, shoes and bags. The designer has fully demonstrated the natural and everyday emotional features of the fiberglass anthurium flowers zoomed in and attached to the fruit; Or puffy, pixelated t-shirts. Dolls and toy models carry bags stuffed with bananas, cookies and other fake foods that look like they’re real and straight off the dinner plate. After the Hermès journey, the luxury “It” bag obsession and the content of Old Money on TikTok, trends have recently veered in the opposite direction: editors, stylists and influencers have taken to hauling adorable Birkin-printed shopping bags in a variety of colors, made by emerging brand XYLK. (The label calls it “real grocery, not fake birkin.”) Who can forget the subreddit where the rich go to find the best fake birkin purses to buy? All this for the sake of fashion meme-making or all things ridiculous – but as the socio-political climate grows, fashion embraces falsehoods in new ways. Today, the idea of ​​the ironic fake, as well as the subversion of the fake, plays with our notions of luxury, class and fashion.

Of course, fashion and lies go back. “Imitation has been done for thousands of years,” said historian Valerie Steele, director of the museum and director of the Fashion Institute of Technology. The most obvious interpretation that comes to mind is It was the idea of ​​knockoffs that entered the American consumer market in the early 1900s, when American designers went to Paris with the specific purpose of copying and bringing fashion there. He replied. Clothing didn’t even have labels until the mid-1800s, when designers used it as a way to express authenticity. (Courier Charles Frederick Worth is credited with being the first designer to sign his name to his clothes in the 1860s.) Naturally, this change encouraged the spread of knockoffs. In the year Around 1913, French couturier Paul Porret discovered illegal copies of his designs – right down to the label – being sold in America for a fraction of the price.

It looks like the Spring 2023 collection from Lowe’s.

Photo by Giovanni Gianoni/WWD/Penske Media via Getty Images
Photo by Giovanni Gianoni/WWD/Penske Media via Getty Images
Photo by Giovanni Gianoni/WWD/Penske Media via Getty Images
Photo by Giovanni Gianoni/WWD/Penske Media via Getty Images

But one of the things that makes fashion’s love affair with fakes so interesting is how widely the perception of replicas has changed. In fact, it wasn’t always the case that fake news was considered a bad thing – and this season, it seems that fashion is returning to this concept. “In the United States, for most of the 20th century, copying was not seen as a crime or vice, but as a selling point,” says fashion historian Inav Rabinovitch-Fox. “Many department stores house lines or big retail designers advertised their wares as ‘copies of Paris designs’ or ‘dresses as seen in Hollywood’. Many knockoffs were marketed to the masses as a means of democratizing fashion and style; a hatred of fakes among those trying to maintain class and racial hierarchies was always present. It was time.

For example, Chanel and Dior sell licenses to American manufacturers to make cheap copies – after World War II. They even distribute authentic fabric and buttons from the 1940s. “They used to advertise it in the window: Chanel couture, $400, and replicas $40,” Steele added. As such, buying a dress by a designer label became a status symbol in itself. The concept of logos and distinguishing the fake from the real was not for the average fashion consumer. “However, this changed with the evolution of hip-hop, and wearing logos became a way to show your status,” Rabinovitch-Fox added.

This season, fashion’s faux obsession is all about celebration and innovation – and not just the idea of ​​subverting artificiality, rather than producing obvious copies.

Cookie bag from toys and dolls.

Photo by Fernanda Calfat/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows

For obvious reasons, fashion’s recent obsession with subverting the nation is intrinsic: “Fashion itself is often portrayed as artificial compared to other natural things,” Steele says. “In fashion, the deliberate attraction to artificiality is a very sophisticated way of looking at fashion items. Deliberate copies are an economic phenomenon.

Another reason to celebrate everything fake for the new generation? We are in a unique time right now where we are against fast fashion. In the year Publicly announcing that you will be buying Shin in 2022 means your moral compass is off.But The brand was once again named the most popular label in the world this year. For the average consumer, shopping is not a moral activity. Still, many people’s perceptions are changing in fast fashion, driven by questions of sustainability, human rights and energy.

Fashion means mocking oneself by making copies of luxury or everyday items and embracing them. One only has to look at the 2021 Gucci x Balenciaga Hacker Project, which is all about “exploring ideas of authenticity and propriety.” The collection mashed together Gucci and Balenciaga’s heritage logos and signatures—and covered the bags in hand-painted spray paint, proclaiming, “This is not a Gucci bag,” making it look like an item a little further away from what you’d expect to find in it. Manhattan Canal Street Depths. Historically, 2022 is about reversing the false submission to such a role, ironically enough. “In the 1980s, metal became a major factor in fashion,” says Steele. “People like to play with it because it’s a way to look smarter than the average Joe. I know this is out of fashion, but I am so fashionable, it becomes fashionable because of what I wear.

A Paris Fashion Week attendee wears a bag with the slogan “You Like Kelly” outside the Spring 2023 Chanel show in France.

Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

Much of this new fake work is still going strong on the Y2K aesthetic. In the year In the early 2000s, sales of counterfeit designer handbags were at an all-time high, and the industry came under heavy scrutiny – with links to illegal labor and criminal activity. “In the early 2000s, designers embraced the hype because it helped them increase their market value and increase their profits,” says Rabinovitch-Fox. “But that’s the problem with the democratization of brands – if everyone can have them, even if it’s a fake version, they’re not exclusive and luxurious.”

As we enter economists predicting a deep recession, it’s an interesting time to look at fakeness and artificiality as a concept in fashion. Maybe it’s because we’re all looking for the next big thing to shock, or maybe the rise of falsehood has everything to do with our ingrained online culture: staring at screens all day, mostly filtered by only the best. . It’s weird and really refreshing to reimagine the concept of fakery in fashion.


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