The Most Shameless High Fashion Knockoffs of 2017

Jake Hateley/Teespring

In a year that started off with Alexander Wang accusing Phillipp Plein of ripping off one of his past productions, posting clips of their shows with the caption “Can I copy your homework?”, it’s no surprise that knockoffs seemed to be even more in fashion in 2017 than usual, even drawing in Kendall and Kylie Jenner, whose merch caused even Notorious B.I.G.’s mom to come for them, and Jimmy Kimmel, who accused Reformation of copying his daughter’s carb-themed designs, into the mix. As usual, though, the most blatant rip-offs came from high street brands looking to high fashion, from Forever 21 (which has been immersed in lawsuits with Gucci as of late) copying the independent designer Sandy Liang, to Zara, Topshop and H&M doing their best Balenciaga. Take a look back at some of this year’s most striking opportunities to pick up some semblance of what’s shown on the runway ASAP, here.


About a month before it went up on Netflix, sci-fi fan Nicolas Ghesquière added even hype to season two of Stranger Things by throwing some merch for the show into his spring 2018 showing for Louis Vuitton. Though the designer set it apart from simply a graphic tee with a small chain around the neck, layering it with a floral collar atop, it took less than 24 hours for merch hounds to replicate the tee, selling a simplified version of it for the presumably much more discounted price of $22.99.


Everyone from Raf Simons to Gucci to Balenciaga has shown their take on the ultra-nerdy platform sneaker, but the latter’s perhaps bears the most similarity (and timeliness) to Zara’s $35.90 “multi-piece sneakers,” a fraction of the $795 Balenciaga Triple S pair.


Fashion copycat watchdog Diet Prada was the first to point out the shocking similarities between Victoria’s Secret’s choice recent choice in packaging for some of their products, which bear an uncanny, sequin-filled resemblance to the signature style of fashion’s favorite makeup artist, Pat McGrath. (In case you’re wondering, the coincidence was definitely not the result of a collaboration: McGrath responded to Diet Prada’s post with screaming emojis.)


Chains like Forever 21 rely on high fashion brands to churn out their endlessly updating merchandise, but their appropriation of Sandy Liang‘s designs this fall stood in particular as it marked not only their profitting off of a young, independent designer, rather than a major house, but also the designer herself responding publicly with outrage, posting side-by-side photos of Forever 21’s new outerwear with lookbook images of her fall 2015 and fall 2016 collections on her Instagram.


The price of being such a trendsetter as Demna Gvasalia is, of course, that each new statement piece essentially sounds out a clarion call to high street retailers to bring it to the mass market. The hybrid sock-boots that Gvasalia designed for Balenciaga’s pre-fall 2017 collection, particularly those in brightly colored hues, could soon be found for much less than nearly $1,000 at everywhere from Forever 21 to Topshop to Zara to H&M, the latter of which are now on sale for just $24.99.


It’s been over a year since Kim Kardashian stepped out in a glittery Vetements dress with her daughter North West in a similarly sparkly gown. This month, however, their mommy-and-me moment became suddenly controversial when Kardashian decided to sell the Vetements copy she made for North through her kids’s clothing line, Kids Supply. Even that the proceeds were going to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles wasn’t enough to save Kardashian from criticisms of plagiarism—ones that, along with the Rei Kawakubo jacket she recreated, she later said was in fact quite intentional, playing it off as an “homage” to the designers.


Brother Vellies‘s Lamu slides were made in the sustainable style typical to the brand, which works with African artisans, though unfortunately the same cannot be said for Steve Madden’s $79.95 take on the designs, known as the Ciara.