Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Imitation = Flattery? Miu Miu and ShoesOne

I know, I know. It's probably getting old with these knock-off/rip-off features. I guess, I just can't get over the sheer audacity of some of these companies. Imagine how draining it must be for the actual designers. They toil over inspiration and to be innovative only to have another company come along a short while later and basically copy every answer off of their test.

Case in point: The Miu Miu crystal-embellished swallow mary janes.

I was crying over these. I literally called multiple stores in the US, the UK, Paris and Italy. NOTHING! They were all sold out. I don't think they even got them here in the US, which just kills me. I mean, these were the shoes of the season for me.

In the end, I got the navy kitty mary janes, which I love and have worn a ton. But when I saw these shoes pictured in the images below, I have to admit, I was tempted for a second. I mean, they are really recreating the design and they are selling them on ebay for $55 (on Filthy Magic for $200, yikes!)

I saw them first on Flithy Magic and thought it was just a blatent rip-off. But then I found the same ones on eBay and on that page they are pairing up their product shots with actual Miu Miu runway images and ads.

I think that is crossing the line.

I know how tempting these are. I'm even struggling with it myself but at the end of the day, can I live with giving my $55 to a rip-off artist? And if I knowingly go into that transaction, what does that say about me? If I "really want them" should I just buy them? And what would I answer, everytime someone asks about them. Does any of that matter?

I'm not going to get them and I actually reported the eBay ones for infringement (mostly because of the ads used in the listing) but it's an interesting discussion worth having.

What would you do and why? How would you answer people everytime they ask you if they are "real Miu Mius" ?


Faith J. said...

I'm glad you reported the fakes. I hear that the knock-off industry is involved with many other illegal activities that are very serious, like drug and gun-running. If I want designer that bad, I'll save up for the real stuff.


lisa said...

I've enjoyed seeing all the whimsical animal prints on "inspired by Miu Miu" clothes and accessories, but a point-for-point knockoff doesn't appeal to me.

Ashe Mischief said...

I saw those on ebay recently too, and my reaction was really similar. Because frankly, they're a really fabulous shoe.

It's all the harder I think, when you want something, and can BUY something, but the company isn't making it available to their public.

There's a question to be asked, and that is-- is Miu Miu, by limiting the market to the UK/Europe only, perpetuating this? By making the original inaccessible to US buyers, are they forcing that market? How hard would it have been to have sold 100 pairs or 50 pairs in the US?

I don't know if there's a right or wrong answer....

Although to note what you addressed in the post: I think it's shady to use multiple images of the runway shots. Maybe one to that says COMPARE TO MIU MIU or something to show, hey, these are being ripped off. Multiple images can lead a more... unintelligent buyer to think somehow they're scoring really good deals on a hot season shoe... It is crossing a line to show them with the ads and runway shots though.

Lara said...

Wow. Those ARE some pretty good ripoffs but, I WON'T DO IT! Totally agree with you on all of this mess - the ethical and personal dilemmas.

It's so difficult to keep up with all of the designers and there are plenty of women out there who have no clue about the Miu Miu. They'll just get them because they think they're cute and they're not to blame for that. It's happened to me plenty of times before. Later, I see the real deal online or whatever and it kind of breaks my heart.

Glad you reported them. I think eBay is trying to be better about this sort of thing.

janettaylor said...

Plagiarism - NO DOUBT!

WendyB said...

GLAD you resisted. (BTW, I'm going to do a big post on this kind of thing soon. I'll have to link back to some of your examples.) I think it's especially egregious when they use the name brand and original pictures to promote their rip-off. Well, I probably think that because people have been doing it to me!

devilishlypleasurable said...

those are blatant fakes, and even if they're cheap, they crossed the line by putting pictures of the genuine item

inspired by is very different from smack-on copycat

Bronwyn said...

Well, if I saw those shoes I wouldn't have any idea that they were a Miu Miu ripoff. There might be maybe 12 designer shoes that I'd recognise, one of which being the Alexander McQueen rose shoes - and those ones I copied myself so I could have something similar.
Likewise, none of my friends would ask me if these were real Miu Mius, because they wouldn't recognise them either. I think you'd probably find that most people have better things to do with their time than memorise all the styles that all the designers produce.

Bronwyn said...

P.S. You do need to consider, if Miu Miu are not selling the shoes in the USA, anyone who buys a knock off there is not cutting into any profits Miu Miu might otherwise have made. That sort of gets rid off most moral scruples, I'd say.

Poochie said...

Lisa - agreed.

Ashe - I hate the limited runs. I understand that sometimes materials may force that but it drives me crazy. I called about a shoe once and was told there was a single size 5 for the entire US. That's crazy to me!

Bronwyn - I don't expect people to be as fascinated by shoes as I am, that's for sure. The world in which I live my day-to-day life, I would say I that 99.9% of the people around me do not know or care about who the makers are of my shoes or clothes. They may think they are pretty or unusual but that's about it. I get them for me and not to impress my friends and co-workers. That's actually why I started this blog, so I could talk fashion with people who also like fashion.

Regarding the stealing issue. I'm am not just talking about these rip-offs stealing profits and sales from the original designers, but rather, and more importantly, their effort and inspiration. These designers - some new and some more established - work their asses off to come up with new designs all the time. They research. They invest their time and their skills as artists. I think it's disgusting that cheap manufacturers just come in and knock them off for the price of shoddy materials. How can an up-and-coming designer fight that when the intellectual property laws don't even protect them 100% of the time.

I work in a creative field and it's a challenge we face every day as well. Buying these shoes when you KNOW they are knock-offs (I'm not saying if you don't know that and happen to buy them.) is the same as saying it is okay to steal someone else's thoughts or art.

And that to me is wrong.

Bronwyn said...

Imitation is not quite the same thing as stealing.

As an analogy, think of any of the paintings by great artists. Most of us will never ever have the opportunity to own one of these. But we can and do buy copies of differing quality and differing price. EXACT copies. Not "inspired by". Expensive ones will be hand painted, cheap ones will be mass produced prints, and the more they look like the original, the more we are prepared to pay for them. Is that wrong? It is certainly wrong to forge them but I don't think it's wrong to produce or buy them.

I rather think the same applies to any other form of art, and designer clothing is a form of art. Nothing wrong with an honest copy that doesn't reduce any return the artist might otherwise gain, but plenty wrong with a forgery.

Do you think it's wrong for people to copy designer clothes for their own use? I'm rather proud of the one or two copies I've made for myself of things I love but could never afford even if they were available where I live. And if that is wrong, is it also wrong to copy something you've seen in a mass market shop because you like the design but can make it cheaper, better quality, and fitting properly yourself?

Of course, people who knowingly buy copies or forgeries, intending to fool people into thinking they are wearing originals, are somewhat pathetic as well as dishonest.

Poochie said...


All good questions - here are my thoughts on it.

Regarding your example - in those cases the artists are long passed away and their work is in the public domain - right or wrong. Or their estate has licensed these replicas. They are not competing with work that is very much still around or impacting the business of the designer. Many knock-off companies also take signature design elements and this hurts the brands.

And for making an item modeled after a designer piece for your personal use, I don't think there is anything wrong with that. If you go on to make them for sale in larger quantities and/or misrepresent them as originals, I think that would be wrong.

Bronwyn said...

Not all great artists are actually dead at the time their paintings are copied. Picasso and Dali are examples of painters whose work was copied extensively during their lifetimes. I believe that the copyright goes with the painting - i.e. the owner of the painting has the right to license copies thereof. I may be wrong, but I think that's how it goes. So you get museums having the right to make and sell prints of the paintings they own.

This is the only way that 99.999% of people can ever actually get to see what "great art" is all about. The same thing holds true for designer clothing. Most of us have no chance of ever evening SEEING real designer clothes, let alone owning them.

Copying designer clothes is also a time-honoured tradition. Way back in the 1920s (according to what I remember reading somewhere) manufacturers would buy up designer articles and pull them to bits to copy.

Miss Patti Darling said...

I used to work in Cheap Jacks Vintage in NYC. We had designers walk through the door almost daily looking for pieces for "inspiration". Some took the designs they found and really did use them as a jumping off point but there were others (such as Marc Jacobs) who simply bought something and re made it (a certain gold lame coat for one of his LV collections that I sold him)
Everyone is guilty of it and it will always happen.

Suze (Miss Vinyl Ahoy) said...

Seriously? That's awful. I did a DIY of my version of the Miu Miu shoes, but they in no way whatsoever could be mistaken for REAL Miu Miu shoes, as these are obviously trying to do.

PS- you've just gained yourself another follower! I'm really loving your blog :)


It's quite freaky that I wrote a very similar post regarding imitations recently about these exact shoes...which I bought. You can see the post here

I have to say I agree with Bronwyn-I mean where do you draw the line? If a blogger were to DIY her own Miu Miu a-like shoes or indeed for any blogger to wear high street clothes trying to replicate a runway look, we would be applauding them, but if a brand/shop imitates a design suddenly that's seen as wrong. I don't agree with these knock off Louboutin etc online stores you see everywhere where they actually steal the brand name and use that to logo the shoes, box and dust bags. More often than not they claim to be selling 'genuine' shoes, even stealing real images from Net-a-Porter etc and it's these companies that are untrustworthy (for a start you don't know what you're buying, if they're showing images of the real thing) and personally I think that's where the shady-funding-criminal-gangs type deals are going on.

Shoesone however are producing lookalikes without pretending to be the real thing (it's their branding inside the shoes and on the box). There's a definite difference there for me. I know it's stealing someone elses idea, but every designer looks to something for inspiration (not often quite so literal)...I don't whole heartedly agree with it but...

I also think what's a girl to do, when you cannot buy those shoes no matter how much money you have? I love them, I want them, Miu Miu don't sell them and yet there's another pair sitting there that could put an end to all that. Yeah of course I would prefer the 'real thing' but we all know we couldn't buy them. As for those that want to pretend they are the real thing, well that's an issue within yourself...if anyone asks me, I'll happily say I bought them from Korea, just like the River Island pair that I bought that also imitate the MM (albeit with noteable differences). x

wasabi-skin said...

I'm going through that exact ethical dilemma right now. I love these shoes! But i'm in Malaysia and they definitely do not ship here. I have yet to see a single inspired-by piece here either. Definitely considering ordering the knock-offs online.

On those comments on how people would be confused by the runway pics, i think the much cheaper price of the item would set off alarm bells. If they don't, buying knock-off shoes online would be the least of their concerns.

And for most part, the reason why designers set such limited output for their product is to create exclusivity for their items. Therefore people are willing to pay more. People always want the things they can't have.

Not saying it's wrong. Just that it's shitty for the rest of us who fall in love with their designs but have little way of getting them. :(

Love your blog btw!

Carolina Benoit said...

I have been trying to find them with no luck, finally I realized it's nearly impossible to get them. I saw them for $140.00 at complexshoes.com, would NEVER buy a fake, and obviously Miu Miu for 140? fakes.