Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Imitation = Flattery? Chloe and ModCloth

I haven't done an Imitation = Flattery? post in a while, mainly because I sometimes get tired of fighting the good fight. I mean, even though many people are inspired by the designers and profess love for their style, they are perfectly happy to support people ripping them off.

Anyways, here's the latest. These are the original Chloe wedge lace-up boots. A big favorite this past season.

I've seen other knock-offs but I was disappointed that ModCloth (supporters of "indie, vintage-inspired, retro & one-of-a-kind vintage") is selling these Style Adventure Boots.

These are not "inspired by" and they aren't evolutions of the design, they are rip-offs with cheaper materials.

And that is my main issue.

ModCloth, I'm disappointed in you.


WendyB said...

Waiting for all the commenters who whine "But we DESERVE to have that look at a cheaper price." Because everyone's entitled to a certain type of boot, you know. It's a matter of life or death!

Lara said...

God, isn't "fighting the good fight" exhausting?

Glad you pointed those out. Everyone is so enraptured by ModCloth and they're great relationship bloggers but, this isn't the first time they've done this.

amy said...

Thank you! I totally agree.

grechen said...

agree with you totally. especially coming from modcloth. i feel like too many people think it's okay to knockoff big design houses in the name of making the designs more "accessible" (cheaper), but there's a fine line. now, even small designers are getting knocked off by urban outfitters, etc. and ppl who claim to champion independent design would never stand for a little guy/girl being copied, so why allow support it happening to a big designer? it's never okay to blatantly copy someone else's design

Aire said...

Hi Poochie,

We're sorry to hear about this mix up!

ModCloth does not produce or design our own clothing, shoes and accessories. Susan Gregg Koger, our founder, and her buying team travel the globe looking for unique clothing, shoes and accessories from independent designers at a wide range of price points.
We began by selling one of a kind vintage items (and still do offer one true vintage item daily!) and our mission remains to offer unique clothing for young women that differs from what she might find in the mall. However, it is impossible for our buyers to keep track of every item/design that is on the market. So from time to time they do fall in love with a style and it happens to be similar to one found from another designer. Please know that is never our intention to steal a style. If our buyers had known that this boot was inspired by the Chole boot, they would have never bought them.

I hope that helps clear some things up. Please feel free to e-mail me directly if you have any other questions.

Thank you,
Aire @ModCloth

Lara said...

I agree. Makes me upset. :(

Anonymous said...

HA. Those Chloe boots where EVERYWHERE. There's no way they couldn't have recognized them.
Modcloth has sold multiple knock offs of the iconic Chanel bag (with the gold chain) and it really disgusts me, considering I've been a fan of Modcloth for years and they only recently started doing this crap.

Pearl Westwood said...

I am fine with 'in the style of' and influenced by but exact copies like I HATE. It spoils the original, I would never want to wear something thats such a blatant rip off. Harvey Nics have started stocking this random new brand amongst the designer shoes I for get the exact name but some like Victoriana I dont know, but they are excat rips offs the of Alaia and Wang they have on the same shelves I must sneek a phone photo I coulnd believe it LOL!

kristophine said...

Aren't those the ones Jane of Sea of Shoes knocked off?

Vyque said...

This isn't the first time ModCloth has sold "inspired by" pieces, but I'm glad they noted people's complaints - maybe they'll start being more careful in the future?

Tony Wang said...

This is a great post! I am so glad we have bloggers like you out there keeping watch!

Copying designs is always a tricky line for us fashion critics. For mass market consumers who obviously don't care much for fashion and are simply looking to look good and save money - they probably don't even know it's a Chloe knockoff - it's understandable why they might not care about this fight. However, for people within the industry who uphold values such as artistic integrity, this is something we need to be vigilant about. Keep up the awesome work, and we support you 100% that brands like Modcloth should be more careful about these issues!

liz said...

This has been my issue with Jeffrey Campbell forever. I have no issue with a designer doing something similar, I even applaud that, giving the public something beautiful and affordable at the same time. BUT when something is such a rip off, I just can't deal, it's gross and highly unethical and geez why would I want to wear a rip of something when I can go to an amazing underground designer and get a pair of shoes that are affordable and original

Suze (Miss Vinyl Ahoy) said...

I feel that way about a lot of Modcloth's shoes.
I admit, I purchased a knockoff of Ann Demeulemeester buckle boots, but not from Modcloth. Did I feel bad purchasing them? Maybe, since they were a knockoff, but my wallet cannot afford the actual retail price.

It's one of those things that is really hard to chose a side about. Because, as a fashion blogger (and a graphic designer!) I understand why designs shouldn't be knocked off (hello integrity!). But as someone who's poor, I also want fashion to be accessible. So it's really a lose-win situation.
Most people can't afford such expensive items. I can't remember the last time I spent more than $40 on ONE item.

I do agree with you that it's interesting that Modcloth is selling such obvious knockoffs when they promote how they're "unique" and "vintage inspired." Not so much. They also crank up their prices and have turned so many decent bloggers into Modcloth zombies... but that's another topic...

Great post.

Plami said...

I find this very very very annoying as well! Inspiration is ok.... evolution is ok... may be even some sort of similarity... but this is way too much!


Meg! said...

I don't see what the problem is. I would never in my entire life buy that Chloe boot, because I can't afford it. And that sucks, because what if I wanted a boot like that? Well, if somebody knocks it off, I can get that boot! Fact: I like knockoffs.

Thing is, it's not like Chloe is losing money over this. I'm pretty sure the people who would actually buy Chloe boots are not the kind of people who would stoop to buying knockoffs. They'll spend the money to get the real product. I highly doubt that Jane Aldridge is gonna buy some cheapo Forever21 knockoff version of Chanel shoes she could have her parents buy for her instead. I mean, seriously.

If this is an ethical issue, then I can see why it's viewed as problematic. The knockoffs aren't just stealing money from the original designers, they're stealing the IDEA behind it. Which is understandably problematic. However, I feel like in the fashion world, everything in the mainstream, affordable stores derives from something else no matter how you look at it. And maybe one thing looks exactly like another thing. Kind of awkward for the one doing the knockoff, but so? It's not like they're taking credit for it. They're not claiming to be the original designer. They're just presenting a boot that's affordable to normal people. Fashion is mass market, it's shallow, it's catering to people who want to look cool based on what they wear. If you think fashion is all about the art, then you're deluded.

I would have no qualms with buying those boots, nor would I hesitate to buy any other knockoff, as long as it wasn't claiming to be an original. I guess I just haven't quite heard a compelling enough argument to change my mind about this.

Anonymous said...

Ummm...... I'm sorry, but get over it. Some of us live in the real world, where knock offs are not on our list of serious crimes and concerns. Shame on you people, you make me sick.

Poochie said...


I do live in the real world. However, on this site the topic is focused on fashion and shoes. This topic actually straddles both, as I work in a creative field where intellectual theft is a huge concern and a problem for those of us who work in a field where we are judged and paid for our ideas. As I'm sure it is for the original designers and those like them.

I don't put this up there with many other issues such as animal cruelty and rights, world poverty and hunger and environmental issues, but I have other outlets for those discussions. If you want to go over to The Daily Coop, my other site, we can talk heavier concerns there.

If you are so disgusted by this conversation (although apparently no so much to put your name against it), you are welcome to direct us to your site or whereever you go to discuss the important issues of the day.

Thank you,