Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Replica Wars

I've been thinking a lot about replicas lately-mainly because they are all over the EGL forum on LJ. For those of you who don't know what a replica is, it's a copy of an expensive brand lolita dress at a much cheaper price. When Angelic pretty releases a $300 dress, a little while later you can find replicas on the market for less than 1/3 the cost. Lets take a look...

This dress is called Fantastic Dolly- by Angelic Pretty roughly $300

Replica by Dream of Lolita.. roughly $30 (must be ordered from China- so hidden fees apply)

There are subtle changes, the cheap lace on the bottom of Dream's version, the size of polka dots on the bow, the use of cheap shiny ribbon, and the main difference, that most people can't really notice by looking, is the fabric. The fabric used by AP is of much better quality.

One more...
Angelic Pretty Little Bears Cafe $260

Replica by Dream of Lolita...$62

The main difference between these two is the little brooch by the strap that AP has and Dream doesn't. I also have a hunch that all AP dresses are lined with a built in Petti and Dream doesn't have any of that.

There are replicas of other brands as well, but AP is the queen of cute prints so I think they get the most replicas made of their stuff. So I have two ways of thinking about replicas.

As a consumer...

Replicas are good for people who need something custom made because the original will never fit them. As a seamstress I am ok with being commissioned to make replicas-but I will not use these as examples of Poison Sugar- just as examples of craftsmanship. As a consumer I like how replicas are cheaper, and when I see a print, I think...oh man I love that, but it's so expensive (like many of us do). But I probably will never buy a replica unless I plan on altering it for something else (like making innocent world animal prints into zombies). This is mainly because I know it's nothing compared to the quality of the real thing AND it feels like cheating on the brands that I love so much. That is one thing I love and will always love about lolita, the high price does equal amazing quality and materials.

As a designer...

As a designer, when Dream of Lolita presents a dress and says "hey, look at our new dress, buy it!" it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, because it isn't their dress. It is the EXACT design of someone else. But this brings up so many other questions...i.e. Since their price is so cheap, are they actually pulling away people who would buy from AP? Since it is so obvious it's a replica can I really be mad at them since they aren't really claiming it's their design? People who are true followers of AP will always buy from them right? But I think that it really does sway people who might buy brand. Say a girl has to save up for Fantastic Dolly, she really wants it, but it is going to take months to save up to get it. Then she sees the Dream of Lolita post, hmmmm....she could grab that up this week. What's a girl to do? I think that there are quite a few people who will take the cheaper road in that situation.

As a designer I have AatP fabric and two different kinds of Innocent World fabric that I could easily make replicas with....

Trump print dress from AatP (Baby the Stars Shine Bright)

But instead I did this with it....

I also have the same fabric as this skirt Innocent World...

But I plan on doing something different with it. I like to take prints and make them my own, not make them the same as what someone else did, how boring.

So there are my thoughts on replicas, they never compare to the real thing.


  1. As a designer, I pretty much refused to make exact replicas. If the customer was okay with there being differences (like lace etc), then I would make a dress loosely based off the original. But that's just me.

    I did make a pretty close replica to the IW teddy bear circus skirt though once. The girl sent me the fabric and I made it for her. It was really nice fabric too.

    But I just have to say...remember the Fruits Parlor replica by Bodyline? That was actually really nice high quality fabric. I compared it to the AP original one of my friends had, and the Bodyline one was better quality, in my opinion.

  2. I have this great fruits parlor replica fabric, and it is really nice but I didn't get to see the bodyline one to compare (or the original AP version-not one of my fav prints). Bodyline has come a long way, they started doing replicas but now they have their own designs and I really like that. But I guess even brands can have their hit or miss moments.

    An yea, I have that same innocent world fabric. I think that is someone asked me to make them an exact replica with the original fabric I'd say no. But if it's just pink and they want a skirt that looks like "this." Then that's not such a big deal.

  3. I say, buy what you like.

    Honestly, I think the replica debate going on on egl has really blown things out of proportion. Especially when you consider that to the average passerby on the street, a girl wearing all brand walking next to a girl wearing a nice tao bao replica will look just as ridiculous. I think some people buy brand for themselves, and some people buy brand for the status in the community. Just like there are many reasons someone will buy a replica. I am ok with either personally.

    As for tao bao, DOL in particular, I don't see how they are claiming the dress to be "theirs". They make no excuses about what they are selling. And as for taking sales away from AP, I don't think that is the case. The replicas come out after many of the AP originals are off the shelves or sold out in stores. The only thing the replicas are affecting is the after sale market. Which, I suspect is why most people are up in arms about them mostly. (Well that and because some girls are catty)

    But in the end, if you want brand, that is what you are going to buy. For example, Melty Chocolate is on my dream dress list. When they came out with the replica, I thought about it, but decided I would only be happy with the original because that is the one I fell in love with. I have no problem with others buying the replica, but it's not for me. And if I did buy it on a whim, I would still crave the original. As for some of their other prints replicated like Wonder Cookie, well I ordered a replica. Simply because I liked it, it was in my budget, but I would never buy the original because I didn't care for it THAT much. It just looked a little fun to wear but nothing I was drooling over.

    In the end, brand or replica, it's all made by 10 year old sweat shop workers anyway.

    PS: I didn't know you had a blog! <3 Will watch it!

  4. I don't know if them being completely aware of it makes it better or worse, like Qutieland having this warning: * Products from Dream of Lolita are the most budgetable items under our shop. But the quality (especially the lace and details) won’t be same level as the original brand products or other items from the brands under our shop. Please consider carefully before you place the order.

    Either way, I'm not going to snub someone because they bought a replica or anything. We all have our owns wants and NEEDS when it comes to lolita and there are things people will substitute and things that only brand can Melon said.