High Street Needs to Grow a Pair (of shoes)

Everyone wants a designer item in their wardrobe…or two. I am guilty of this. I love designer products. Whether it be a precious Prada bag (please god one day), sexy Isabel Marant shoes, a Miu Miu coat or a beautiful Balenciaga dress – I want it. See, I am a sucker for designer. That doesn’t make me a snob, it just makes me a victim of wanting something of an extortionate price. On a single trip to Selfridges I could admittedly spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on, basically, everything. Yet, you could argue that the designers are losing what makes them “special” due to the gazillions of copies on the high street. So, the question that enters my mind is whether or not there’s a point in these brands selling their items for no less than hundreds (well millions to me because it is all so out of reach) of pounds.

I have to admit that I love the fact I can’t afford most of the designer things I would like. When I get something designer it makes the piece more special because it’s something I’ve worked for. Call me a weirdo, but I see the outrageous prices as, hmm, objects of ambition. I aspire to work hard for these things and when I achieve, I receive (through my own money of course, I am not a spoilt girl, although sometimes I wish I was!). Thus, these items are something special. Something I can work towards.

Of course this all goes to scrap when the high street shops, such as Topshop and River Island, choose to copy the designs of the beloved labels. I am personally so against high street copying designer. Ok, I understand that it gives people the chance to afford something that was originally unaffordable, but can the popular shops not come up with their own ideas and designs that are hot enough to set off trends? Yes, it is fair enough for these stores to take inspiration from top designers, but to copy the product so that they both look the same…not cool. Take the burberry shirt for example (you know, the one everyone is wearing with the hearts? The one first worn by Victoria Beckham and then by Harry Styles?). This £495 shirt has been replicated by Topshop and is selling for £38. Yes, I get this is a shirt with a simple design, but there is no need for Topshop to have copied every inch of the item and sell it as though its their design. JUST LIKE CHEATING IN A TEST IS UNACCEPTABLE, SO IS CHEATING IN FASHION.

When I (originally) thought of the high street market, I thought it was a great idea! These stores were creating trends…globally. I mean, as a young girl, I saw a point in time where it was high street leading designer. Everyone would rush to the shops to see the latest looks and buy them at such affordable prices and it was great. Everyone was a walking trend! But now, this has turned around, because the industry is back to square one. Designer is leading high street, again. Designer is the flamboyant woman walking her high street dog that is wearing an American Apparel hoodie – she’s leading the dog in the direction she wants to go in. I’m not saying this is bad but the cheaper goods should take inspiration, and may I repeat only inspiration, from the more expensive ones. This shouldn’t only be for “copyright” (or whatever the term is) reasons, but also because these cheap, exact copies take away the special feeling of owning something designer. High street is lessening the feeling of owning something so expensively beautiful.

WOW. A light bulb has just appeared above my head. I have a great analogy I’m going to end on. Cars. You don’t see a Fiat modelled in exactly the same way as a Maserati because that’s copying. So why is it acceptable for the high street to copy the designers? Products are products and copying is copying. Am I right?


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