Magazines have long sold us the idea of having the high street version of a designer look, for a fraction of the cost. And I used to go along with it, always waiting for the low-end version of the high-end look I was coveting. When I was about 18, one of my first purchases from Topshop was a faux-leather version of the Ostrich skin Prada bags that were everywhere that season (I'm massively dating myself here, it was somewhere round the turn of the millenium). I couldn't get over the fact that you could have something that looked reasonably like the designer item it was inspired by, in the same season, for the princely sum of £18. I was hugely proud of that bag, and it's probably still knocking around somewhere in my old bedroom in my parents' house. As time passed though, and my obsession with fashion grew deeper, I realised that there was no real point to designer copies. Anyone with any idea about fashion will soon clock that your high street bag is just that, and not actually designed by Miuccia herself. So I've slowly lost interest in designer look-alikes. I don't mind "inspired by" or in the general style of, but I don't think anything currently in my wardrobe could be considered a designer copy in any way. The floods of designer fakes that have overrun ebay leave me cold (when you see copies of Topshop or Zara styles, it's clearly gone too far). So I was as surprised as anyone by the item that made me re-think my stance on the issue.
It's a bloody Bambi jumper. From Primark. It cost £10 and I absolutely love it. In fact when I saw it, I ran over to it and had to stop myself squealing ohmygodgivenchybambiImusthaveit! Because this look, from Givenchy's A/W 13 collection was possibly my favourite look of the season:
Now, I realise 99% of people who see me wearing my Primark almost-copy will just think I'm a grown woman in a Disney jumper and possibly just assume I'm a bit odd. The other 1% though will know I'm wearing what I wish were a Givenchy jumper, but is actually just a cheap wannabe. And I don't know if I'm ok with that. If I were wearing the real deal, I would still be a grown woman in a Disney jumper, but I'd be smugly secure in the knowledge that it was approved by Riccardo Tisci, and every fashion editor and starlet in existence:
So basically, I'd still be a fashion victim, but at least one who was wearing something by a hugely covetable designer. Now I'm just a 30-something in a jumper with a cartoon deer on it. To be honest, even if I had no idea of the inspiration behind the top, I'd probably still have worn it at home where no one but my boyfriend (who once owned slippers in the shape of big, fluffy dogs and therefore cannot judge) would see me. But now, the fashion world has deemed it acceptable, so I've worn it in public. And it's the first thing I've liked that I've really questioned- normally copies of the must-have of any season just bore me because they're overexposed before they even properly land in shops, but Bambi seems to be one look the high street has, for the most part, left alone. I just don't know if I ought to have done the same...