When brands get cheaper

Low-income class has found a way in replicas to walk the ramp every time and everywhere

When brands get cheaper

Maida loves brand replicas, which are just another form of copy-and-paste type work. When she wears a replica dress of, for instance Maria B, she feels like walking on the ramp.

She has now a good collection of replica dresses which, if bought from brands’ flagship stores, would have cost her a couple of hundred thousand rupees.

Why people are going for replica dresses and other gears?

“Because some people can’t afford the price of the original brand,” she argued.

Maida is a working woman, and her meager salary hardly allows her to buy a decent dress from a band’s store. Like many other women, she finds the choicest dresses, in the form of replica, at Liberty, Ichhra and other downtown shops.

How much can one save in a replica deal?

It differs from a shop to shop and a dress to dress.

“On average, there is a difference of about Rs 3,000 to 5,000 in the price of a replica and an original brand dress,” says Ayesha.

A replica is an exact reproduction, such as of a painting, as it was executed by the original artist or a copy or reproduction, especially one on a scale smaller than the original. These are the illegal copies of the original brand.

Replica started trending in Lahore markets in 2014, and now it has hit almost all shops of big markets. Designers’ lawn collection seems very attractive and beautiful but they are also very expensive. Many people want to wear stylish dresses of their favorite designer but due to high prices they just dream.

Farwa Shah, a Punjab University student, loves to grab replicas for “branded log hein hum”, as she loves nothing else than branded accessories. The world of brands, however, seems looking the other way.

Umar Haji Kareem, brand owner of Al-Karam Lawn, says they are aware of replica trends but it does not hurt their business at all.

“Not much, as our prices are affordable for the higher income class,” he says.

The lawn has a dedicated client club, which only goes for the original.

“Our customers are sensible enough to choose the right brand. Our brand and fabric are unique. So it doesn’t hurt our business much.”

“A sensible buyer will understand the difference between our fabric and a replica. Our customers are from higher class, they never go for copy. Whenever they went for a replica, they regretted their deals, and at the end of the day, they came back to us,” says the owner of Firdous Lawn.

But he is against the plagiarism of fashion art. With the help of police, he got raided some shops and got arrested shopkeepers.

“But it did not work for us, so we started ignoring them.”

Yaseen, an advocate at the Lahore High Court, says that replicas are illegal and violate Copyright Act and sections 478 to 489 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

He says that brand owners can cope with this problem by registering their copyright. They can approach the FIA or police or a civil court for action, he says.

Regardless what the law is all about, fashion lovers and shopkeepers love the cheap form of brands, as low-income class has found a way in replicas to walk the ramp every time and everywhere.