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Unofficial beauty and fashion watchdogs are hot on copycats' trails

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

-  /  Thu, April 18, 2019  /  05:38 am
Unofficial beauty and fashion watchdogs are hot on copycats' trails

While it is difficult to prove whether alleged copycat is plagiarism or simply taking inspiration, the practice is unethical although not always deemed illegal. (Shutterstock/pedrosek)

The beauty and fashion Industry has watchdogs: Instagram accounts like Diet Prada or Estée Laundry are public voices taking a stand for social issues such as diversity, equality and proper behavior. They name and shame brands and designers who commit plagiarism and other unethical practices.

According to The Guardian, Estée Laundry, which describes itself as a small beauty collective that brings transparency, honesty and equality to the beauty industry, is run by a group of people in a variety of places.

“In the age of Instagram, where there are no secrets, people expect authenticity and honesty from brands,” Estée Laundry told The Guardian, as they watch the beauty industry closely to reveal copycat behavior, cultural appropriation or lack of diversity among major brands.

More than 60,000 people are said to follow the beauty watchdog on Instagram, including several beauty editors, PR practitioners and even Victoria Beckham.

Apart from calling out products alleged to be the result of plagiarism, culturally insensitive or using misleading advertising, Estée Laundry also encourages its community to share honest opinions on trending products and feature flattering images of people of different ages, sizes and racial backgrounds.


#ELCommunityReview: where YOU get to review trending products and share your opinions with the #BeautyCommunity. Each week we’ll post a trending product, and if you’ve used that product, share your experience in the comments below. Please share your honest opinion only after you’ve genuinely used the product yourself after an extended amount of time. ๐Ÿงด The trending products this week are thermal spring water sprays. Popular thermal spring water sprays from #Avène, #LaRoshePosay, #Vichy and #Uriage range from $15-$20 for 300ml. Thermal spring water is known for its soothing and fortifying properties because it’s said to be full of antioxidants, mineral salts and trace elements. But can it actually help your skin? Are thermal spring water sprays really just glorified tap water in a fancy bottle? Share your review below, if you’ve used this product. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ or ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿพ? ๐Ÿงด Ingredients: Thermal Spring Water, Nitrogen

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While the beauty watchdogs are represented by Estée Laundry, the fashion industry is familiar with Diet Prada.

“I think that every designer in the world is following Diet Prada,” Alber Elbaz, former creative director of fashion house Lanvin, told W magazine.

Diet Prada, helmed by a New York-based duo of fashion aficionados, exposes controversies such as design copycats and racism in fashion and has become the industry´s biggest watchdog. Their Instagram account has 1.3 million followers including Naomi Campbell and Edward Enninful, chief editor of the British edition of Vogue.

“We see one of our responsibilities as informing consumers about the products that are on the market,” Diet Prada founders said in a statement to Buzzfeed News.

Still related to lifestyle, Instagram account Wristbusters calls out those who flaunt counterfeit luxury watches on social media. The account, which is in private setting in spite of its more than 200,000 followers, identifies features of the fake watch in a detailed manner, and compares it with the authentic article.

The Indonesian world of fashion is under surveillance as well, as an Indonesian actor and businessman were also “busted” by the Wristbusters. However, Indonesian Instagram accounts with the purpose of being fashion watchdogs are largely no longer active.

Posting its latest content early last year, Social Symptoms used to call out Indonesian or international stylists and designers who allegedly committed plagiarism. Now de-activated nyinyirfashion was also widely talked about in 2014 when it accused Indonesian designer Priyo Oktaviano of copying Nepalese-American designer Prabal Gurung's collection for Priyo's show in Jakarta Fashion Week.

Charika Channuntapipat, Responsible Business Award (ReBA) academic from the University of Birmingham, wrote in a ReBA blog post that although it was considered unacceptable for designers to take and copy designs from one another, the practice has become somewhat normalized by the idea of a trend that is commonly followed.

What usually occurs is that well-known luxury designer brands accuse other brands, particularly mass-produced fast fashion ones, of being copycats. While it is difficult to prove whether it is plagiarism or simply taking inspiration, the practice is unethical although not always deemed illegal. Unfortunately, fast fashion is often synonymous with exploitative practices that have a bad impact on society and environment.

Lapixa, a free image search and infringement resolution service for photographers and artists, explains on its website that product piracy equals illegal reproduction and copying of products for which the legitimate manufacturers have invention, design and procedural rights. Reproducing or copying is therefore offensive to those who have invested in research and development.

Furthermore, Lapixa wrote that as product pirates do not bear any costs for product development but only produce goods of poor quality the practice could be detrimental to the economy.

Counterfeiting, in the case of cosmetics and medicines, for instance, also potentially harm consumers, as the ingredients and manufacturing could be compromised.

Brands and companies called out by Estée Laundry, Diet Prada and the like react differently. While some apologize and carry out damage control, others may fight back or ignore the accusations.

Rihanna’s cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty, which launched a rosy pink highlighter called Geisha Chic, and was criticized for being culturally insensitive, apologized and removed the products from stores and online stores.


UPDATE ๐Ÿšจ๐Ÿšจ Hey Loves, Due to the feedback on this post @fentybeauty has decided to completely remove this shade from online and in stores until further notice. We will keep u updated! We appreciate Fenty Beauty’s responsiveness to this matter and applaud the continuous evolution of this amazing beauty community ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ . . . More..... ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ™€๐Ÿ’—โค๏ธ #fentybeauty Keep it cute and sweet in #KILLAWATTFOIL in #GEISHACHIC! NEW metallic brick red โœจ . . It’s going to be a HOT๐Ÿ”ฅ #Summer2019 โ˜€๏ธโœจ Also dropping: 1. #BRONZERS โœจ๐Ÿ˜ #SUNSTALKRBRONZER - gives instant warmth that brings out the right undertones for a sun-soaked glow! This creamy, powder bronzer. that are blendable and transfer resistant in 8 shades, Instant Warmth Bronzer $30 each: MOCHA MAMI - very del shade with warm red undertones COCO NAUGHTY - deep shade with neutral undertones CARAMEL CUTIE - tan to deep shade neutral undertones BAJAN GYAL - tan shade with warm undertones I$LAND TING - Medium shade with neutral undertones PRIVATE ISLAND - Light to medium shade with warm undertones SHADY BIZ - Light shade with warm undertones INDA SUN - fair shade with neutral undertones 2. SCULPTING BRONZER BRUSH 195 $34 - A tapered bronzer brush with a custom paw shape designed to contour the face with effortless precision. 3. CHEEK-HUGGING BRONZER BRUSH 190 $36 - An extra large, super plush bronzer brush that’s expertly chiseled to “hug” the curves of your face for an all-over bronze glow. 4. LIL BRONZE DUO Mini Bronzer Set $24 featuring a mini Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer and a mini Match Stix Shimmer Skinstick. In SHADY BIZ/SINAMON (for light - Medium skin tones) CARAMEL CUTIE/SINAMON (For tan to deep skin tones) 5. Mini!! PRO FILT'R - Instant Retouch Setting Powder $16 in Butter, Cashew, Honey, Nutmeg . . Will be available โžก๏ธ APRIL 5TH online @fentybeauty @sephora . . There are more.... ๐Ÿ‘€ What’s on your list? ๐Ÿ’›โค๏ธ๐Ÿ’—โœจ๐Ÿ’ง XO #Trendmood #fenty #fentybeauty THANK U for this beautiful update: @jordy2_shorty @audreypschl ๐Ÿ˜˜ . . #motd #makeupoftheday #mua #ilovemakeup #makeup #makeupaddict #makeuplover #makeupblogger

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Read also: French court finds Jeff Koons guilty of plagiarism

In another case, influencer/blogger/fashion business owner Arielle Charnas became involved in a social media war with Diet Prada.

The fashion watchdog account accused Charnas of copying a Prada headband for her Something Navy line at Nordstrom.


Spotted: another influencer cashing in with diluted runway fashions for their own “brand” ๐Ÿ˜ด. @ariellecharnas , we saw you dodging mentioning @prada as the obvious inspo for the padded headbands in your @somethingnavy collection with @nordstrom lol. We get it...not everyone has $240 to spend on one and we’re well aware Prada didn’t invent them, but they definitely revived the trend after a certain Upper East Sider rendered headbands passé. We also saw your Manonos, @oldceline rip, and lots of bad reviews on lol. Xoxo, Diet Prada. • #prada #miucciaprada #ss19 #rtw #milanfashionweek #mfw #madeinitaly #retro #mod #headband #accessories #wiwt #ootd #celine #phoebephilo #manoloblahnik #fashionblogger #influencer #silk #satin #nordstrom #ariellecharnas #somethingnavy #dietprada

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Matters became complicated when irresponsible netizens made negative, even violent comments about Charnas and her family, stepping far out of the context. The quarrel took place on Charnas’ and Diet Prada’s Instagram stories and were screen-captured by The Guardian.

Although Diet Prada has the point that its call-out of [low quality] copycats is to help prevent more “twisting” of designer fashions, overproducing bad fits and damaging the environment with all the returns [unsatisfied customers reportedly return Something Navy products to Nordstorm], trolling of those who allegedly commit plagiarism is not acceptable. (sop/mut)

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