The Rape of the Rafē Collection
With some well-known luxury brands, fashion-conscious consumers evaluate the label first and the style afterwards. With Rafe, the opposite is true -- many people fall in love with the designs before they even figure out how to pronounce the designer's name (RAH-fee, short for Ramon Felix Totengco).
Unfortunately, that combination of fabulous design with a lesser-known logo is exactly what the copyists who lurk in the dark alleys of the fashion world are seeking. After all, it's legal in the US to copy the designs -- just not the trademarks.
Baghaus.com is one of the more blatant copyists online, stealing not only designs but even the legally protected logos and trade dress of better-known brands like Coach or Hermes, all the while advertising their work as "inspired by" various brands.
Baghaus even runs a blog, complete with celebrity photos and profiles of the designers whose work they've plundered. As the entry on Rafe concludes:
Baghaus is proud to offer our very own line of handbags inspired by Rafe New York. We think you'll like them as much as Jessica Alba, Eva Longoria, and Sandra Oh love their authentic Rafe handbags. Actually, we think you'll like our Baghaus versions even more @ 49.99 and under . [Emoticon definitely in original.]
Indeed, something to be proud of.
Of course, Baghaus isn't the only copyist to rip off Rafe. All Women's Talk notes that Jessica Simpson, apparently yet another celebrity knockoff artist, has copied Rafe as well. (Are these celebs so accustomed to receiving free stuff that they think the designs belong to them as well?)
Counterfeit Chic is all in favor of artists who are inspired by other artists. Inspiration is a good thing. But these copyists are about as "inspired" as a photocopy machine is by the original on the glass.
Many thanks to David Alexander for the tip -- sent far too long ago!