Outfit: Dupes, Replicas and Counterfeits – some thoughts

For today’s post I’m sharing my outfit of the day (and some musings on dupes, replicas and counterfeits).

Recently Australian shoe company Wittner was slapped with a lawsuit by Italian shoe company Ports for copying the latter’s iconic knotted sneakers.

This was discussed in one of the Facebook groups I’m a member of, and all of the people in the discussion thought Wittner deserved its lawsuit. Mind you, most of the members in the group eschew fast fashion and shop at the upper part of the high street, if you know what I mean.

Before I talk about what I think, I should probably give my definitions to some key terms I’ll be using.


A dupe is an item of clothing, bag or shoe that is very similar to another. Typically the high street brands sell dupes of designer items, and typically they’re bags or shoes. However, we’ve also seen examples like this hilarious one of Balenciaga vs Ikea.

Dupes aren’t exact copies of the original – there is always something that little bit different in the dupe so that the company who created the dupe can claim that it’s not a copy.


A counterfeit is an almost perfect copy of another company’s items. They have the exact logo, shape, design or other branding typical of the designer or brand they’re copying. Counterfeits are illegal in most Western countries, but if you’ve ever travelled anywhere in Asia the manufacture and sale of these is common.

Dupe vs Counterfeit Vs Replica

To me, the term replica is used interchangeably when talking about either a dupe or a counterfeit. Some might say that an item of clothing is a “replica” of another in that they look similar (eg this H&M oversized cardigan is a replica for Acne’s Raya Mohair cardigan). However, an item that is counterfeit could also be called a replica, and it is usually accompanied with a replica grade (eg. A+ for a good copy, AAA+ for a top quality copy – almost identical to the original). For the purposes of this post, I’ll only use the terms dupe and counterfeit.

Personally, I don’t mind dupes. In fact, today’s outfit is made up of a few dupes.

Thrifted Paper Scissors jumper ($4.50 from Vinnies) – a dupe of Etre Cecile‘s jumpers.

Topshop loafers (bought new last year, worn >20 times) – a dupe of Gucci Brixton loafers.

Prene bag in grey – a dupe of State of Escape tote bags.

If you have the means to buy original Etre Cecile, Gucci and State of Escape items at their retail price – fantastic! However, not everyone can afford to buy designer items but they still want to look and feel stylish, and this is where dupes come in. They allow those of us who want to look like a million bucks can do so without shelling out that much money.

I love, love designer items for their quality and longevity, and have been very lucky to add a few to my wardrobe (mostly through second hand channels so I’m not actually paying the original RRP). However, it’s not practical for me to wear designer items all the time (4 year old and 2 year old anyone?), so dupes let me look like I’ve made an effort when I’ve only had minimal sleep. Also for people like me who bash around their shoes and handbags a fair bit, I can justify said bashing with those less than $100 compared to $400 ones.

Of course, there’s the issue of fast fashion and the environmental and social impact they’re creating by creating said dupes, which I’m well aware of. This is where purchasing consciously, buying secondhand and making the most of your items is important.

Not much needs to be said about counterfeits. They’re absolutely unacceptable.

I’d love to know what you think of dupes/replicas/counterfeits! Drop a comment below so we can begin the conversation!

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