Students, today’s fashion lesson will be on knock-offs. Not the Louis Vuitton kind you can find on Canal street, but the kind you’ll see at stores like Urban Outfitters and Forever21, that aren’t legally “knock-offs,” but are directly inspired by something else happening in the fashion space at the same time. It’s sort of a grey moral area; we can almost all agree that literal counterfeits are bad (for the brands and also the world), but some look-alike fashion is pretty harmless. And a good way to get a look for less. I could go on and on and on about the general topic–but let’s discuss, specifically, something that is happening right now: the evolution of Alexander Wang‘s Parental Advisory sweater for spring 2014.
The original is pricey ($995 for a sweatshirt) but also a piece of art and an instant celebrity-favorite from the spring shows. Rihanna wore one in pink while on a tour stop in London. It also comes in a black t-shirt version that is sold on Nordstrm for a little bit less:
Get it: Alexander Wang Parental Advisory Crewneck Tee ($325).
Wang even dressed his too-cute-for-words niece Aila in the cheeky tee for his show:
Warning to parents: Alexander Wang’s niece Aila is too cute for words.
It was clearly his favorite piece from the collection. But technically, he wasn’t the first to put the explicit warning on clothes. The idea comes from a shirt worn by Woody Harrelson in 1992’s White Men Can’t Jump, a version of which is marketed to men on custom t-shirt sites.
So, could Wang really get that mad when Urban Outfitters started selling a very similar Parental Advisory Pullover Sweatshirt ($44) in their stores? Nah:
Imitation is the sincerest form… Parental Advisory Pullover Sweatshirt ($44).
In fact, as Fashionista points out, Urban was actually selling the sweatshirt for months prior to Wang’s show. And they won’t be the first or last to replicate the look this season. Forever21 has this Explicit Muscle Tee ($13.80), Tilly’s has an Explicit belt ($33.99). And the season hasn’t even really started yet (the first day of Spring is March 20). You’ve been warned: there WILL be more.
Forever21’s version: the Explicit Muscle Tee ($13.80).
[Photo: Fashion Agony, IMAXtree]