The School of Hard Knock Offs

Today’s post on Shoeaholics Anonymous: “Knockoff Marc Jacobs Sandals.” The blog reveals, side-by-side, a pair of strappy red Marc Jacobs cork wedges ($339.95) and a Steve Madden version of the same shoe ($49.95). “Of course, we all know Steve Madden is known for some awesome knock-offs,” the writer points out.

Naga peep toe pump by Guess

Naga peep toe pump by Guess

In fact, the designer version-meets-discount version is regular fare for many a fashion magazine (I’m a huge fan of Self magazine’s “Admire it, Acquire it” it feature). But the recent lawsuit brought against clothing retailer Forever 21 (designer Travota accuses Forever 21 of copying a line of shirts; Diane von Fürstenberg, Anthropologie, Gwen Stefani and others have pressed similar charges in the past) gives the term “knock off” a dirty ring. (Like “Genuine Pradu” handbags weren’t bad enough.)

Still, how many of us can really spring for the Marc Jacobs sandals these days? And, in the shoe world, is it possible that imitation is still the sincerest form of flattery? Shoeaholics Anonymous seems to think so. The site boasts recent posts on Dolce Vita, Jimmy Choo and Louboutin knockoffs. (The Naga peep toe pump from Guess, pictured here, is nearly a dead-ringer for Jimmy Choo’s Eliza Petrol Patent Peep Toe Shoes.)

Gemology by Kenneth Cole Reaction

Gemology by Kenneth Cole Reaction

And, while out-and-out design stealing likely warrants cries of piracy, what about when designers “borrow” from their own high-end lines to flesh out their lower-priced offerings? Check out the $78.95 Gemology sandal from Kenneth Cole Reaction. It’s rhinestone-encrusted and comes in bronze, gold and silver.

Bedside by Unlisted

Bedside by Unlisted

Cole’s Unlisted brand features a sister (if not twin) style in the Bedside: sparkly beading, metallic coloring and just $45.

Glamour Girls Shoes Simpson

Glamour Girls Shoes Simpson

Finally, there are the replicas which are not knocksoff so much as tributes: Glamour Girls Shoes claims to be “your online source for the latest in celebrity worn and designer inspired footwear.” So, is Glamour Girls’ Simpson Peep Toe Wedge in homage to Jessica Simpson? The singer-turned-fashion-brand hasn’t produced a similar style in her current collection, but the open toe, the stacked wedge… it does nod to the star’s style. And a Simpson-esque shoe ($19.99!) is a step up from a “Genuine Sampson” any day.

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April 2009

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