Image credit: VejaIt’s not cool for Primark and Marks & Spencer to knock off Veja’s sneakers, says Vogue Australia’s Sustainability Editor Clare Press. Here’s the thing: copycat Vejas are unacceptable. I say this despite the fact that copying has become normalised in fashion. While it’s fun to check Diet Prada to see what flagrant feats of plagiarism fashion will come up with next, we’re generally so numbed to it, that we barely comment. Unless to ask, why buy £650 heels when we can shop lookalikes for £95? We take it for granted that the high street is full of fake runway looks. In our post-modern world, designers even copy themselves.
Veja says their sneakers cost five to seven times more to produce than conventional brands’, but by eschewing advertising they make it work. Their business model empowers the worker as well as the wearer. They’ve become cult heroes by word of mouth, and because their product is authentic and fabulous. Fans, including me, will happily extoll the virtues of their favourite Veja sneakers to anyone who’ll listen. We take it personally. And these knockoffs feel personal too.
On Instagram, The Nu Wardrobe’s post was followed by a rush of comments, ranging from “shame on Primark” to “I’d rather pay more for better quality and sustainable clothing.” My regram garnered more than 240 comments. My favourite? “You can copy the look but you can’t copy the integrity.”
Veja’s reaction was the best. “Thank you for the love,” wrote Sebastien Kopp to Aisling Byrne. “It is very sad to see this. The first question that comes to my mind is: Where are those nice counterfeit shoes made? I think @Primark got it wrong. They should not copy the style of our shoes, they should copy the way we make them. With organic cotton, with recycled plastic, with more ecological fabrics, in factories where workers are paid decently, and are working in secure conditions. We will explain everything to them in court.”
Read our Life As I know It interview with Sebastien Kopp here.
Listen to the Wardrobe Crisis Podcast with Sebastien here.