Diet Prada: Copycat Police
Copycat fashion puts an ironic twist on an imitation of well-known, established or upcoming designer wares or logos, and it’s hit its peak. Copycat items can now be found for sale everywhere on the Internet, and even some boutique stores around the city.
It all started with streetwear labels ripping off designer slogans, one, in particular, would be Russ Karablin’s ‘Comme des Fuckdown’ – which caused a frenzy when seen on the head of one of A$AP Mobs member’s in their shoot for Vice. Other examples extend beyond the street and filter into high-end fashion. If one could only recall Jeremy Scott’s Moschino x McDonalds collection.
The copycat culture can be quite insensitive to brands; the collections occupy a grey space within which the brands affected are unsure or unable to take action. Oftentimes, companies license the use of their logos to fashion brands for a fee – as was the case with Vetements’ DHL logo. However, sites like ‘Vetememes.com’ take bootlegging one step further by innovating meme-esque styles of the originally copied pieces. For example, the DHL tee utilises the same colour scheme and font, but reads ‘vetememes’ instead.
Interestingly, this new copycat culture dazzles the Instagram generation’s attention, with social influencers celebrating the satirical nature of copycat brands that allow them to wear a juxtaposition of labels, all at the same time. Ava Nirui serves as a prime example, prior to being Helmut Lang’s creative digital strategist, Ava gained recognition by remixing works by her favourite designers into personal passion projects. Ironically, it is the same brands that she bootlegged and remodelled into her after work projects that now look to her for inspiration. As for the unaware that rep said copycat labels with no idea of the sacrificed integrity of the original brand, there exists anonymous accounts like Diet Prada. Who quite literally remove the wool from one’s eyes by exposing copycat brands – of both high and low-end calibre, in order to retain the authenticity of the original brand.
Tony Liu and Lindsey Schuyler founded Diet Prada and they have built up a following by calling out fashion imitators, or calling attention to people “knocking each other off.” Their truth-to-power assessments of major brands is a practice that is avoided by most publishers, who legitimately fear the loss of advertisers. The duo side-track this problem through utilisation of a free public social platform, like Instagram, that allows them to connect with millions of users that can access their content at any time, provided they have internet access. When questioned as to why they started Diet Prada, they responded, "we were working together at one point and in our research, kept seeing copies over and over again. We would do these live roasts of collections and thought it was lol enough to put online."
Whilst Diet Prada has no shortage of fans, they have also procured an affluent enemy or two along the way. Most notably, Stefano Gabbana, who voiced his discontentment after Diet Prada posted a side by side of Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana, along with the caption: “D&G GHOST! @dolcegabbana takes a stab at the high-low aesthetics of @troubleandrew and @gucci’s GUCCI GHOST collab.”
Besides their minor scuffle with Gabbana, the duo has made better friends than enemies. Gucci’s Alessandro Michele is a fan and even got Liu and Schuyler to take over its Instagram account at its S/S18 show. Prada also had them in attendance this season and the seating arrangement at Miu Miu’s S/S18 show read ‘Diet Prada’.
Whether their budding friendships with the brands will impact the objectivity of their content remains to be seen, but so far Diet Prada is a no-cost platform for fashion criticism that whilst original, will ironically, have copycats.
By Nailah Dossa @reinha.n
Visuals Not Owned by ASBO Magazine