Do you dream of owning a designer handbag? Ever wondered if cheap sunglasses are really any different from Ray-Bans? If you answered yes, then behold the many knockoffs of famous, sought-after brand-name products that are just as effective and, to most eyes, just as fashionable but cost far less.
Copycat products are admittedly dogged by a downscale reputation and leave some buyers with a guilty conscience. Meanwhile, big-name and luxury products carry a cachet that signals top quality, expresses the designer's artistic vision, and reflects years of marketing. Sometimes, though, without the logo, you wouldn't know the difference between a knockoff and the original. If you can't afford to pay the higher price, here are six imitations that are the spitting image of the real thing and should serve you just as well.
"It" bags by the likes of Hermes are must-haves in the fashion world but can cost more than a month's rent. For frugal fashionistas, retailers such as H&M, Forever 21, and Target carry incredibly similar styles in the $30-to-$50 range without the stigma of a counterfeit. Online, DailyLook traffics in bags so much like a Celine or Chloe that you'll do a double take. Designers generally use leather, while mass-market suppliers may use polyurethane. Otherwise all that's missing on many knockoff bags is the logo.
Sunglasses are another in-demand fashion item that can cost several hundred dollars. As with designer handbags, many retailers offer knockoff versions of designer shades such as Ray-Ban's classic Wayfarer or Oliver Peoples' Matt aviator sunglasses. Target's versions, sold under the Merona label for about $15, are spot-on replicas of the two styles and feature the same UV protection. Designer brands sometimes use higher quality lens material, but many Ray-Bans have plastic lenses like their knockoff counterparts.
Rolex is known for manufacturing sleek, reliable, upscale watches (figure on $4,000 or so). For about $200, Casio offers stylish, dependable watches through its Edifice collection, which includes designs very similar to Rolex's Oyster line. An authentic Rolex doesn't tick, so the only noticeable difference besides the brand name is the slight ticking sound. One expert
asserts that a $500 Casio Edifice even compares favorably with a $50,000 Tag Heuer.
Designer Diane von Furstenberg made a splash with the introduction of her jersey wrap dress in 1974. As fast as women began strutting this new fashion statement, retailers began selling knockoffs. Banana Republic now carries multiple interpretations of the iconic dress for $98, compared with around $300 and up for an authentic DVF. Although some of the designer dresses are made from silk jersey, both companies use a rayon/spandex blend, which minimizes any apparent differences.
J Brand Jeans.
J Brand is known for high-quality jeans that have become a staple in celebrity closets. The company vows to make expensive-looking jeans, sans the back-pocket designs and gaudy embellishments normally found on cheap denim. A coveted pair of basic, skinny-leg jeans starts at a whopping $198. But J Brand isn't the only clothing label that makes simple yet stylish jeans with no adornments or cheap-looking designs. Fast-fashion retailer H&M peddles several styles of embellishment-free jeans with a starting price of $29.95.
Tiffany & Co. Bracelet.
Tiffany's famous Heart Tag Bracelet in Rubedo metal -- a mixture of gold, silver, and copper -- costs a staggering $2,000. Online retailer Overstock carries a similar bracelet that approximates the Tiffany metal with 14-karat rose gold over sterling silver. It has a toggle clasp that recalls an earlier version of the Tiffany bracelet and costs little more than $100. In scores of glowing reviews on Overstock, buyers note the weight of the knockoff and report that it's been mistaken more than once for a Tiffany.