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Published: 20 Jun 2017

Boolenciaga: Capitalising on Counterfeits


Davil Tran – founder of parody brand Vetememes – has turned his copycatting attention to French fashion house Balenciaga, launching a host of doppleganger products under a new label: Boolenciaga.

Tran, who found viral fame with his Vetements-approved imitation raincoat, has created simple caps and outerwear for Boolenciaga’s inaugural line-up, each printed with the imitation logo. Prices start from $69 for hats – a fraction of the identikit Balenciaga versions, which retail at $285.

The popularity of the venture (the black baseball cap is already sold out) mimics the success of bootleg Ikea Frakta designs, inspired by Balenciaga’s take on the Swedish furniture giant’s 99-cent tote. Bolstered by affordability, consumers are increasingly embracing irreverent takes on luxury items, ironically seeing more authenticity and street cred in the unauthorised freedom of DIY copies. For more on this, see Ikea’s Frakta Frenzy.

The industry’s love affair with irreverence and imitation shows no signs of abating, with a number of designers at the Resort 18 shows poking fun at the counterfeiting of their houses. Gucci designer Alessandro Michele stamped the brand’s knock-off pseudonym Guccy on a host of slogan T-shirts and beaded gowns, while in a questionable move, Dolce & Gabbanna created #Boycott Dolce&Gabbanna T-shirts in response to criticism of the brand’s support of US first lady Melania Trump.

For more on how brands and consumers are navigating counterfeit culture, see our Macro Trend report The Edge of Extravagance

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