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Professors Copycat fashion designers drive industry trends

on Wednesday,March 03,2010 23:03

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Despite the taboos placed on knockoffs and generic copies of designer clothing, some intellectuals are suggesting that this type of imitation may be instrumental in the success of the fashion industry.

In a recent feature for the New York Times, law professors Chris Sprigman and Kal Raustiala argued that copycat designers may serve as a trend barometer for the fashion world. They explain that when a particular garment is "referenced" - the designer term for mimicry - it has clearly evolved into a trend and gained approval by consumers.

Imitation designers such as Faviana - which creates more affordable versions of clothing worn by celebrities - can make red-carpet couture more accessible to the masses. According to the company's website, their knockoffs are intended to fit both "petite size 2 prom queens as well as a statuesque size 18 mothers-of-the-bride."

In turn, clothing companies that take the latest designs from runway to the department store shelves are actually benefitting the industry as a whole, as emerging trends can perpetuate mass interest in fashion.

Additionally, the professors say that a trend's popularity can help designers determine when a trend has peaked, as widespread availability of a particular style is usually indicative of its impending demise.

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