Everyone's Knocking the Knockoffs

Returning from a brief hiatus always means a pile of papers -- real and electronic -- stacked up on the desk.  This August it seems that there's been quite a bit of knockoff name-calling, starting with Gawker's reportage on the absence of buzz about the sixth season of Project Runway, which premieres tonight.  Like many PR fans, Gawker blames the  the show's lawsuit-laden jump between channels for the lack of luster:

Lifetime just doesn't seem to have the street cred to carry this thing off. No matter what they do, their Runway will always be a knock off purse compared to Bravo's Louis Vuitton. It may look the same, smell the same, and even have the same logo, but we all know it came from Canal Street and there is nothing you can do to sell it as the real thing.
An amusing analogy, given that virtually every early report on Bravo's replacement effort, The Fashion Show, called that one the knockoff. 

Speaking of venues that lack street cred, J.C. Penney's new Manhattan store experienced a visit from New York Times Critical Shopper Cintra Wilson and her wonderfully wicked wit.  Unfortunately, her references to large sizes and obese mannequins that "probably need special insulin-based epoxy injections just to make their limbs stay on" caused such outrage that she ultimately apologized.  And Penney's large advertising circular was delivered with the paper the next day, as scheduled.  (For the record, Counterfeit Chic has observed loss of actual human limbs secondary to diabetes and does not consider this or any other serious medical condition amusing.  Hold the email.)

Still, the worst part of the story may be that the fat fight obscured Ms. Wilson's inspired reference to uninspiring knockoffs:

J. C. Penney has always trafficked in knockoffs that aren't quite up to Canal Street's illegal standards. It was never "get the look for less" so much as "get something vaguely shaped like the designer thing you want, but cut much more conservatively, made in all-petroleum materials, and with a too-similar wannabe logo that announces your inferiority to evil classmates as surely as if you were cursed to be followed around by a tuba section."
A less-than-stylish reputation acquired through association with knockoffs can be a difficult thing to change, it seems.  While Penney's was attempting to burnish its image in New York, a similar effort was underway at a trade show in Bangkok -- with mixed results.  WWD reports:

As Thailand's $18 billion textile and garment industry evolves, it's being pulled in two directions.  Government officials are keen for Thailand to shed its cheap, copycat-producing reputation and offer higher-quality goods.  Yet buyers, especially in the current climate, are hunting for bargains to protect their margins.
If the buyer from Missoula, Montana, were willing and able to pay for an original design rather than seeking a $6 dress, perhaps there wouldn't be so many knockoffs out there.  In other words, it's all about the demand side.

Or is it? Down Under designer Collette Dinnigan sent sparks flying from the front row of a fashion show in Sydney, where she found looks from Helen O'Connor's Thurley label suspiciously similar to her own.  O'Connor denied the charges of copying, but admitted that Dinnigan "inspires" her and has been her "hero" for a decade. 

Whether any of these allegations and analogies are true or not, it seems that one label nobody loves is "knockoff."