Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Replicas -or- Beating a Dead Horse

Hey guys! Today I wanted to insert my unasked for opinion on the long fought replica debate. This topic has been done to death, I know. Any possible opinion you could want on the matter is to be found somewhere in the community. I'm not looking for people to even necessarily agree with me (I understand why it is a highly contested subject). My stance is coming from the position of someone who is BOTH an artist & a plus-size/low budget lolita.

First, I'd like to start by discussing the arguments AGAINST replicas. After each I will give a brief explanation on my view of the reasoning.

1. It is a crime! The art is stolen! -I can't disagree here. The art they're using to make products is taken and reproduced without permission to a wider audience.

2. They look cheap compared to the real thing! -This depends a lot on where you get it from. Of course they're not going to be as high quality as brand because they're not made by the same people or with the exact same materials. I see lots of non-replica pieces that are also very low quality though. Each lolita has to make that choice. It should be noted though that most replicas are not lined, have different lace than the brand dresses, and usually have only 1 sided waist straps. The default option is sometimes sewn on where they were removable from the brand dress (you can change this from some places though, but I'll talk more about that later) or they have no pockets when the original dress did.

Starry Night Theater (AP)
SNT (replica)

3. They're stealing money from the brands! -No they literally aren't and here is why: The brands that get replicated are generally selling out everything immediately upon the release. Even if they reissue it 2 or 3 times they often sell out every single item. They produce a limited number and no more, which means that they were only able to make X amount of money to start with. Secondly, most of the people who are purchasing replicas would not be buying the brand items anyway. (Note that I say MOST because there are people who opt for replicas who, in my opinion, shouldn't.) Most of the people who buy replicas are either out of the size range of the brand option (which as we all know, usually comes in only one size that is catered to their Japanese buying base) or simply can't afford brand. I don't think either of these cases warrants lynching someone if they fall in love with an item.

4. Well if they can't fit into brand they should lose weight! Or get dresses altered! -Losing weight is not an overnight immediate thing. It is hard and there are tons of factors that come into play there. Some people just don't want to lose weight! And, in my opinion, that is fine, that is their right, and they have ownership over their bodies. Some people who don't fit into brand are too small as well. Some people have just one part of their body (bust and shoulders being most common) that don't fit. For those people it is often suggested that they alter the brand items. While that IS a viable option for some people, altering is expensive and, in many cases, significantly lowers the value of the dress.

Milky Plant (AP)
Milky Planet (replica)

Another reason people opt for replicas is because they don't like the original design by the brand. While not all replica makers offer custom designs, some do. Some will even make you home wears or sell you the fabric so you can make your own projects with it! This is great for people who want the dress in a cut or style that wasn't offered. Don't like the tacky collar on Milky Planet? No problem! You can take it right off. Hate that scalloped edge? Easy fix. Add pockets, make things removable or permanent, make the print into a non-lolita item. Really your imagination and bank statement are the limit.

Chess Chocolate (AP)

Custom Design CC (replica)

Replica producers are making a fracture of what brands are, though yes, illegally. The brands are not losing money however. They are always going to be the first choice for many people. Once you buy a replica there is a good chance you're going to be stuck with it long term, so keep that in mind! The majority of lolitas do not fall into the custom size your dress will have, many may not like your custom design, and most resale places do not allow replicas at all.

I personally own several replicas of varying qualities (the cause being different makers) and will probably own more in the future. I also have hand made and indie pieces, and will probably have many more of those in the future. I personally think, if brand is just totally inaccessible to you (genuinely, not just "well it's too much I could get 3 replicas blahblah") replicas can be a good way to get the prints you love. If you opt for replicas though, keep in mind that their value is low, they don't have comparable quality, and some lolitas (mostly online) look down on those who wear them for any reason. I am also choosing not to direct link to any particular replica maker because it is NOT my intent to promote them.

Stay frilly <3