The fashion blogosphere is abuzz lately with a feud brewing between luxury brand Proenza Schouler and cheap-'n'-chic retailer Target. The culprit? Proenza Schouler claims Target's new Mossimo Messenger Bag is a wee bit too close for comfort to the iconic PS-1 messenger bag.
What do you think? The $1,995 version is on top...the $34 version below.
Part of the reason Proenza Schouler is so upset? They've collaborated with Target in the past on one of their "Go International" collections. And as designer Jack McCullough told Cathy Horyn of the New York Times in her recent blog post, "Yeah, why save up and buy ours when you can buy theirs right away?"
Can you spot the difference?
Of course, knock off's are an issue that transcend fashion and carry over to many industries- including home decor. Look at Madeleine Weinrib style pillows and rugs- they've spawned a whole industry of copycat chic.
Madeliene Weinrib Black Buche
Ikea Stockholm Rand
I think McCullough, in a way, over simplifies the dilemma- the same person who would (and more importantly, could) spend $1,995 on a designer handbag isn't going to say "Great! I'll buy this fake leather $34 one instead and be just as happy!" You're talking apples and oranges here in terms of clientele. However, I think that where the real dilemma comes in for high end designers is that knock off's dilute their look that they've understandably put a lot of research and development into. If thousands of teenagers wearing at suburban malls around the country are carrying this style of messenger bag, will fashion-conscious insiders still want to shell out big bucks for this bag? Unlikely. Sort of like what happened when LV knockoffs became so rampant.
So here we have another "democratization of design" dilemma on our hands- it's great that high style is becoming more affordable, but is this at the cost of diluting the work of high end designers?
What do y'all think???