I admire what BlackScissors is doing but also understand both sides of the argument. Mainly, that they got notoriety doing fakes, and might still be doing them were it not for the Italian shit storm that was most certainly headed their way. Their nose isn't clean, but now that they're running a rather transparent operation I give them the benefit of the doubt.
It's my personal belief that BS is the beginning of a new challenge for the world of premium boutique apparel:Bespoke Internet Fashion Vendors.
This is an entirely new market BS is addressing weather they realize it or not – Savvy people who populate places like SuFu, who are very cognizant of what's happening on the runway, but are several notches down the ladder of socioeconomic participation. Unless your shitting money, or place a conspicuously high priority on dressing well, paying $3,000 for a jacket is completely out of the question. These are also people who are not concerned with the snob factor of wearing a designer label - They're concerned with quality craftsmanship and being current.
Conventionally, styles work their way down the retail food chain, and as somebody mentioned earlier, give the masses access to the latest trends. Already Diesel is riffing off of Rick Owens stuff, and eventually we'll see Express and H&M do the same - except often the idea is completely diluted and lacking 'edge' by the time it hits pleb'-friendly price points.
But BS does a few things differently that change the game:
- One - Their copy machine is faster than retail. When product planners go through the pain of doing a season, there's lag built into the process. BS, on the other hand, can have something ready to sell in about 30 days, provided they have enough reference material to work off of.
- Two - Their craftsmanship is theoretically better for the money. BS is working with the same pool of suppliers and sweatshops that Diesel, DSquared and the rest of them are using when they go to town. If anything, their quality is on par or better than the non-Italian competition.
- Three - Bespoke capability. Yeah, you like a certain jacket but you want blue leather? You can have that. You're not limited to what's been ordained for the season's palate.
So this invites a tough puzzle for very high end labels with a relatively young constituency - If consumers are after the style and craftsmanship, and not the cache that comes with a brand, then lots of people are going to opt for knock-off. I don't see it as a matter of counterfeiting, it's really more like generic prescription drugs.
Is it right to blatantly copy the work of top designers? I don't see why not - it's been standard behavior in the fashion world for decades. The difference with Black Scissors is that they're accelerating the process, and delivering a much more targeted product.