Designers Stay Ahead of the Knockoff Curve

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You know if you bought a knockoff of this piece from Chanel's fall collection those rubber things would fall off as the salesperson folded it and put it in the bag. Photo: Getty Images

Anyone who’s ever felt the heft of a Chanel suit jacket (or, in our case, stealthily slipped one on while the sales lady wasn’t looking) knows that with the weight of chains, brocade, and beading comes a four-digit price tag. Compare that to the nifty “office-chic” blazer you just scored at Uniqlo — on sale. Actually, don’t.

If fall and winter fashion brings out the bitter shopper in us, it’s not just due to our perpetually bottomed-out bank account. Diaphanous summer fabrics have always been easier to carry off, especially when our stylish friends have often mistaken Zara for Barneys Co-op. Fall ’08 runway looks from Prada, Balenciaga, and Balmain — not that we can afford them! — are all embellishment-heavy and alarmingly pricey.

According to the Financial Times, ready-to-wear designers are continuing to seek ways of distinguishing themselves from the mass-market, fending off knockoffs by using high-tech fabrics and hard-to-duplicate application techniques. And the trend isn’t likely to wane, mirroring a general market shift. “As the price of high fashion and luxury continues to climb, so designers are upping the deluxe factor in every aspect of a garment.” Sigh. Expect next season’s Barneys Warehouse sale to be especially cutthroat.

Cut From a Different Cloth [FT]