Imitation = Flattery? Finding designs at Zara

For years I’ve done an Imitation = Flattery? series on the blog. As mentioned before, I work in a creative industry and I value the work of artists and designers. I really dislike seeing their work knocked off. Everyone should, because if talented people stop thinking it’s worth it to put out their work for public consumption, we all will be a little bit poorer in the world with its loss.

I also think cute design can be found at any price point. I think companies who rip off designs are just lazy. Materials and production values can change but design can live no matter the cost. And as someone with a photographic memory, I see the influences all over, some more egregious than others.

Let’s use Zara, a fast fashion icon. Granted, I love Zara. They have a pulse on trends like no one else and their quality is better than most other brands in their category. But even they aren’t above lifting designs and then tweaking enough to keep them out of trouble. Some people love this about them. But some times they go a bit too far.

When I see these cream d’orsay pumps, for example,

I see the Valentino Garavani Roman Stud pumps…

Same toe box, same strong gold single embellishment. Same chunky heel. Just the ankle strap differs.

Then with their black chain slide sandals, they mimic the Bottega Veneta square toe, plus…

They’re an obvious call bank to the JW Anderson iconic sandals

But these last ones are the ones that could get them a slap on wrist if not a cease and desist. Zara has put out a 3 strap Mary Jane…

They, on the surface, copy all the details of the Louboutin Veronica Mary Jane pumps from last season.. While they don’t have the iridescent patent red (the pair I have)…

But compare them to the Louboutin black patent. The lines and production values of the Louboutin are more graceful with a better and more fluid strap placement but you can see exactly where Zara took their “inspiration”…

Suffice it to say, I’m not a fan of this. I want unique designs at all ranges. I know it can be done. Yes, I’m selfish too. I want to keep seeing the artistry and architecture that marries in footwear design. I hope fast fashion doesn’t take that from us.

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