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What is Bootleg Fashion?

What is Bootleg Fashion?

Bootleg Fashion? Ever heard of it?

Neither have I, and now you will!

Think about Bootleg Fashion like remixing fashion, in particular, remixing fashion brands. Fashion designers are said to have a love-hate relationship with it but I think it looks pretty cool (and maybe you do too).

I hope you watched Netflix’s Emily in Paris, because I’m about to do some major referencing here. If you haven’t, that’s okay too, you’ll still be able to learn all about Bootleg Fashion.

Remember when Pierre Cadault’s dress was auctioned off only to be bought by Grey Space, a pair of designers who “wrecked” the dress by putting their own spin on it? They threw paint all over the dress (embarrassing Emily in the process) and called it a collaboration between the two designers. Pierre Cadault detested it.

Imagine the below dress with a big black splatter over it:

Photo from

Through the public embarrassment and guilt Emily felt along with Pierre’s anger, everyone else seemed to love it. It was cool, creative and unique.

Later in the episode, after accepting that his older designs were of a “stale, lifeless collection” (as he called it), Pierre embraced the new style, took it by storm and called it “cancel couture.” By the end we all learned to love the so-called “remixed fashion” and Pierre found his passion again for designing clothes!

Cancel Couture. Image from

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Hello Bootleg Fashion!

Now technically there are three types of Bootleg Fashion:

  1. Unofficial authentics: A really good pair of “knockoffs” or “fakes” (also considered knock-ups; i.e. Louis Vuitton bags that look exactly like the original but sold for less).
  2. Parody and References: When a brand makes their own variation of another brand, giving it another spin, without meaning to “fool” the consumer. The meaning of remixing fashion brands, in my opinion.
  3. Customs: Alternative versions of original designs which can be custom-made for personal wear.

Choose one, choose them all; call it fast-fashion or call it street wear. Regardless, each type of Bootleg is unique and expands our perception of fashion as we know it. Designers are blurring the boundaries of high and low-end fashion, influencing the market and exciting trend-setters and fashion runways. From high-end designers to indie brands, both are embracing the trend and consumers are embracing the hype.

“This trend is more about the ironic attitude than the actual garment—it trumps authenticity and even bad taste.” – Nancy Won, Fashion Magazine

Bringing together two or more brands and styles which may seem tacky to some, has hit the fashion industry by storm. Love it or hate it, you can’t help but see Bootleg Fashion stand out on the rack and in the crowd.

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